Housing is For People

Housing is fundamentally about people, not about edifices or investments.

The quality of how an individual is housed -- inclusive or segregated, sound or substandard, with safety and dignity or forsaken -- reflects the strength of the community that holds her or him. And in turn, it predicts quality of that individual's future.

Housing is my core expertise. Extending my own advocacy as a renter to the benefit of others, I started a tenants' rights organizing and advocacy project as part of the Ohio Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) when I was a senior at Oberlin College.

Over the next 3 decades, from Williamsburg/Greenpoint, Brooklyn to Hayward, California, to Chicago and its northern suburbs, I developed the skills, substantive experience, and hundreds of successes in:

  • Tenant organizing in both urban and suburban neighborhoods
  • Fair housing enforcement and community education
  • Affordable housing research, policy advocacy and development
  • Promotion of alternative housing models such as co-housing, shared housing, and intergenerational housing
  • Foreclosure and predatory lending prevention
  • Grassroots community organizing in support of mixed-income communities

In 2012, I was appointed by Illinois Governor Pat Quinn to fill the “affordable housing advocate” seat on the newly constituted State Housing Appeals Board, the enforcement body for the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act, legislation whose support I led as the director of Open Communities when it was drafted in 2003. I also served by appointment of the mayor on the Ad Hoc Landlord-Resident Advisory Committee for the Village of Skokie in 2013.