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Affordable Housing in Wilmette Organizer Honored

Gail Schechter, a community organizer focusing on affordable housing in Winnetka and Wilmette (among other Northern communities) will be honored in May.

Gail Schechter, a community organizer focused on affordable housing, will be receiving this year's Miller Housing Justice Award for her work organizing residents in Winnetka, Wilmette, Northbrook and Park Ridge, among other northern suburbs. 

The award will be presented by the Winnetka-based organization Open Communities at the 4th Rayna and Marvin Miller Housing Justice Award Benefit, a evening that aims to celebrate grassroots achievement and fair and affordable housing in Chicago's northern suburbs.  

"[Schechter] is being honored for organizing racially, ethnically and economically diverse residents in the northern suburbs, including low-income Morton Grove motel tenants, Skokie cab drivers and Highwood Latino renters fighting displacement, residents of affluent Northbrook, Park Ridge, Wilmette and Winnetka uniting for affordable housing in their own communities; parents, teachers and religious leaders as United We Learn to push for educating fudning reform in the wake of State Sen. Rev. James Meeks 2008 protest with Chicago children at New Trier High School; and uniting religious leaders in the wake of hate shootings in 1999," a press release from the organization stated.

Schechter will be receiving the award on the 20th anniversary as the Open Communities' Executive Director. She was appointed in 2012 to the State Housing Appeals Board by Gov. Quinn as the "affordable housing advocate" chair. 

Open Communities was previously the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs, and changed its name in Oct. of 2012. The organization aims to educate, advocate and organize for social justice, work with current and prospective residents and investigates fair housing, homesharing, provides landlord/tenant advice, counsels on foreclosure prevention and provides immigrant leadership development, among other programs. 

Jan Marsden-Johnson and Gerald (Jerry) Howard — two of the founders of the Deerfield Affordable Housing LLC — will be receiving the Housing Action Award for their work with affordable housing in Deerfield.

The event will be held Wed., May 29 from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Park Center in Glenview. Tickets are $75 and includes cocktails, hors d'oeuvres, music and a silent auction. More information can be found online here.

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