Cycle 3 Fellow
Leah Levinger is the founding director of the Chicago Housing Initiative (CHI), a citywide coalition comprised of nine community-based organizations working to amplify the power of low income individuals to expand low-rent housing. Since 2005, Leah has served as a tenant organizer with residents on the front lines of gentrification. From 2005-2010, Leah worked alongside residents of Grove Parc Plaza Apartments with Southside Together Organizing for Power (STOP), supporting residents of the dilapidated subsidized housing in their fight for new owners, one-for-one replacement of all 504 subsidized units, and a binding relocation rights contract. In 2010, Leah began staffing CHI’s campaign to reform the Chicago Housing Authority. Leah’s work at CHI enabled ground-breaking exposes in the Chicago Reporter, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Sun-Times, and Huffington Post which unmasked CHA’s waste of public housing units and vouchers and propelled CHA to lease over 2,400 long-vacant units and release 3,200 more housing vouchers. Currently, Leah’s work with CHI focuses on securing structural reform of CHA by passing the Keeping the Promise Ordinance, which will strengthen City Council’s oversight, institute a policy of one-for-one replacement in all future redevelopments, and provide affordable housing to 12,000 additional families at no cost to the City budget.