Working in a team of three with the executive directors of two other housing organizations in the northern suburbs, CEDA Neighbors at Work and the Evanston Neighborhood Conference, I helped organize “North Suburban Housing Partners,” a circle which grew to include Catholic Charities, Connections for the Homeless, the Evanston Human Relations Commission, the Housing Opportunity Development Corporation, Housing Options, the Wilmette Community Relations Commission, and support from the staffs of regional elected officials. These groups spearheaded a North Suburban Housing Issues Forum in Glenview in 1999, drawing over 225 people and effectively “putting a face on housing” in the area for the first time.
The coalition won major victories including:
- Gaining representation of a north suburban resident on the board of the Cook County Housing Authority for the first time and building momentum that contributed to full fair housing rights for Section 8/Housing Choice Voucher holders.
- Spearheading the formation of an ad hoc Evanston Inclusionary Housing Task Force directly following North Suburban Housing Partners’ standing-room-only public forum in April 2002 on affordable housing solutions. The Evanston Housing Commission’s Task Force, which purposely included three members of North Suburban Housing Partners helped to craft draft inclusionary housing ordinances to help capture new development for people with low and moderate incomes.
- Building a predatory lending prevention program through education and outreach, effectively helping many homeowners in the predominantly Black Evanston’s 5th Ward from being displaced.