Board of Directors

The Board of Directors is the governing body for all of the West Side Federation For Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc.


President and Director – Sheldon J. Fine

Sheldon J. Fine has been a Director of WSFSSH since 1979, serving as Secretary from 1983 to 2000 and as President of WSFSSH from 2000 to the present.  He is also currently in his second term as a commissioner on the New York City Age-Friendly Commission.  Mr. Fine has also served since 2007 as the Team Chief of the Upper West Side Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).  The team has been a recipient of NYC Emergency Management’s coveted Citywide Emergency Deployment and Preparedness Award.

As a social activist leader on the West Side since 1971, Mr. Fine has been the Chair of the Local Area Policy Board, the Neighborhood Advisory Board, the Community School Board of District 3, and Vice-Chair of the Citywide Community Action Board. In addition, since 1986, he has been a member of Community Board #7 on which he has held several leadership positions, including two distinguished terms as Chair of the Board.  He is also a Director of Friends of Bloomingdale Inclusive Park and Playground, supporting the new uniquely constructed, truly inclusive park in Manhattan Valley.

As a career educator in the New York City Public Schools, Sheldon Fine has been a teacher, principal, District Director of Math, Science & Technology, and Assistant Superintendent of a large South Bronx school district. He has also served as an adjunct professor and clinical supervisor for several colleges with specialties in STEM, educational leadership, and special education. Currently, Mr. Fine is employed as an educational consultant for Fordham University and the Metamorphosis Teaching Learning Communities in New York City schools.

Vice President and Director – Father John Duffell

The Pastor of the Church of the Blessed Sacrament on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, Father Duffell has had considerable experience in services to the homeless in Westchester County where he was the founding member of a shelter for homeless families and on the board of a housing development corporation. He has been a WSFSSH Director since 1995.

Director – Hedwig O’Hara

Senior Staff Attorney Hedwig O’Hara has substantial experience in affordable housing development and leads the Housing and Shelter program area, which focuses on business law services to nonprofit organizations engaged in affordable housing development, neighborhood revitalization, supportive housing, and services to the homeless. Ms. O’Hara also uses her financing and real estate law expertise to help Lawyers Alliance clients with complex real estate law needs.

Prior to joining Lawyers Alliance in 2002, Ms. O’Hara was an attorney with Brown & Wood LLP, Battle Fowler LLP, and Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker LLP. She received her J.D. from Fordham University School of Law in 1991 and B.A. cum laude from City University of New York at Hunter College. Lawyers Alliance publication: Joint Ventures for Housing Organizations.

Director – Charles Gatewood

Consultant with special expertise in housing finance and in the area of federal new market tax credits, Mr. Gatewood has had more than 30 years of experience in real estate financing with various lending institutions in the New York City area.  He joined the WSFSSH Board in 2012.

Director – Jerilyn Perine

The Executive Director of Citizens Housing and Planning Council, Ms. Perine is an urban planner with nearly 30 years of experience in housing and community development in New York City’s neighborhoods. She served both the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations as Commissioner of the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development. Ms. Perine joined the WSFSSH Board in 2009.

Director – Julie Sandorf

President of the Revson Foundation, Ms. Sandorf is an expert on national and international issues surrounding homelessness. She was the founder in 1991 of the Corporation for Supportive Housing, a national intermediary organization which underwrites supportive housing programs, gives technical assistance to state and local governments, as well as providers, and provides grants and loans for the development of supportive housing.  Ms. Sandorf joined the WSFSSH Board in 2000.

Director – Lynn Wishart

Professor Emerita of Legal Research at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, Yeshiva University, Ms Wishart brings an array of professional and community skills to the Board. Ms. Wishart is an active leader at Fifth Avenue Presbyterian Church. She has been a key to the success of the joint Fifth Avenue/WSFSSH “Steps Project”, an innovative program of outreach and services to assist men living on the streets to transition into permanent housing. Ms. Wishart joined the WSFSSH Board in 2015.

Director – Abby Jo Sigal

Abby Jo Sigal is the Founding CEO of HERE to HERE and the Executive Director of The James and Judith K. Dimon Foundation, which provided the seed funding for HERE to HERE. HERE to HERE is a recently-formed Bronx-based nonprofit that prepares young adults ages 14 to 25 to succeed in family sustaining-careers through working with a network of employer, education and community-based partners. Abby has extensive experience in community development, real estate finance, impact investing and working with community-based organizations. Prior to the Dimon Foundation, Abby was the Senior Vice President of Innovation at Enterprise Community Partners, a national housing organization, and provided leadership across the organization for strategy, new product development, knowledge management, and impact investing. Prior to that role, she ran the Enterprise NY program, deploying $200 million annually in equity, debt, and grants; developing and implementing programs; and policy. Early in her career, she oversaw the design and development of the New York City’s Hudson River Park along the West Side and launched its first Summer Youth Program. Abby holds a bachelor’s degree from Yale in Philosophy and a master’s degree from UC-Berkeley in Business Administration and City & Regional Planning.

Other Officers

Executive Director  – Paul R. Freitag

Paul R. Freitag joined the West Side Federation for Senior and Supportive Housing, Inc. (WSFSSH) in 2015 as the Executive Director. He brought to WSFSSH over 20 years of experience in the affordable housing and social services sectors first at Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens and later at Jonathan Rose Companies as a Managing Director. At WSFSSH, Mr. Freitag oversees the implementation of all housing development, social services and asset management activities in the agency.  He is the primary liaison to the Board of Directors and is responsible for the well-being of WSFSSH tenants and staff. Mr. Freitag received a B.A. and a B.S.  from Brown University, a Masters of Architecture from the University of Virginia and a Masters of Urban Planning from City College of New York.

Deputy Director and Assistant Secretary – Claire Hilger

Claire Hilger joined WSFSSH in 2020 as the Deputy Director and Chief Operating Officer. She brought to WSFSSH over 15 years of experience working in affordable housing development and management and brings a broad range of professional expertise. Prior to joining WSFSSH, Claire was the Vice President of Community Lending and Investment for Wells Fargo Bank from 2016 – 2020. From 2006 – 2016, Claire held positions at Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens, including as Senior Vice President of Real Estate. Claire received a B.A in Environment Engineering from Northwestern University and a Masters in City Planning from the University of California at Berkeley.

Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer – Nanda Win

Ms. Win joined WSFSSH in 2009. She was the Controller from 2009-2013 and became the Chief Financial Officer in 2013. As the CFO, she oversees long-term budgetary planning and cost management and collaborates with senior program staff to align WSFSSH’s financial resources with short- and long-term program goals. Prior to joining WSFSSH, she worked as a Grants Accountant at the Foundation for AIDS Research and as a Budget and Contracts Manager at the Center for Urban Community Services. Ms. Win holds a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from the University of Yangon, Myanmar, an MBA in Financial Management from Pace University, and a Master of Science in Accounting from Pace University.