Gail Schechter has been a leader in housing advocacy, discrimination complaint investigation, tenant and community organizing, community-based education, and public policy research and development since 1984. Since 1993, she has served as Executive Director of Open Communities (until October 2012, the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Suburbs), a Chicago-area fair housing organization that dates back to the Civil Rights Movement. She is the recipient of numerous honors for her social justice advocacy including the 2001 “Champion of the Public Interest” award from Business and Professional People for the Public Interest, and two community organizing awards from Housing Action Illinois for housing justice campaigns in Morton Grove and Wilmette. She also teaches public policy for the graduate division of Northwestern University's School of Continuing Studies. In February 2012, she was appointed by Governor Quinn to the State Housing Appeals Board, the enforcement body for the Affordable Housing Planning and Appeal Act.
Originally from New York City, Ms. Schechter was Director of Organizing for a Brooklyn not-for-profit group and later co-founded the Chicago Mutual Housing Network while at the Center for Neighborhood Technology. Ms. Schechter holds a B.A. with Honors in History from Oberlin College and an M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy from Tufts University. She has two children, lives in Skokie, and plays clarinet as much as she can in her spare time. The views expressed in this blog are purely her own.