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Inspired to Work in Housing

By Ivy Perez,  Former Summer 2017 Housing Policy Associate

When I first started working as a Summer Associate in the Housing Department at the Latino Policy Forum, I had no idea I wanted to pursue a career in housing policy. I was expecting to graduate with a master’s in public policy soon, and had become interested in studying gentrification. When I joined the Forum, I hoped that, through my contributions to the Housing Department, I would also learn a lot about the way in which housing issues affect different communities and the way in which local organizations view issues such as gentrification and affordable housing.

I was attracted to working with the Forum because I was interested in its work with community organizations across Chicagoland. Through its Acuerdo model, the Forum brings together community and nonprofit organizations in an issue area, and ensures that their goals and needs are reflected in policy and decision-making. Working with the Forum’s Housing Acuerdo, which consists of 30 community organizations in Chicagoland, I have become inspired to pursue a career in the housing policy field.

Although Chicago’s Latino residents make up about one-third of the city’s population, they continue to be under-represented in public housing and under-served when they need other important services. They were also disproportionately affected by the financial crisis in 2008. Their needs and goals are diverse, but the Forum and its Acuerdo members have led many efforts to address these diverse needs with an equally diverse set of services.

The Forum is also committed to giving back to its Acuerdo members; one of my most enjoyable experiences while working for the Forum was a training workshop held in Little Village for Enlace Chicago, a community organization representing Latinos. This workshop not only taught me the power of sharing information with peers, but also exposed me firsthand to the passion and commitment of a Chicago organization.

The Forum’s Housing Acuerdo has exposed me to a greater variety of organizations and communities than I could have seen if I had worked for a single organization--and I have been impressed and awed with the breadth and depth of services and perspectives that these organizations give to their communities and to the Forum.

I am moving to New York at the end of this summer, and I am eager to put to work what I have learned from the Acuerdo and continue working in the field of housing policy.  Although I will not be here in November, the Forum will be hosting Latinos on the Move, a “power breakfast series” that shines a spotlight on issues relevant to the Latino community and brings them to the forefront of the public agenda. I urge those in Chicago to attend, tickets are available here.   


Posted In: Housing