The newest addition to our team, Jerome Sader, wasn’t just figuring out where the coffee was and organizing pencils on his first day. “Within my first hour of working at Housing Action, I was sitting in a boardroom of housing leaders in the city, including a handful of professionals I’ve sought guidance from since I was in college,” Jerome says. “I have been dreaming of being in meetings like this and working in policy advocacy for my community since I was in high school. To be granted the power and responsibility to advocate for fair, affordable and available housing here in Chicago is a humbling and fulfilling feeling.”

Jerome, who is pursuing a Master of Science in Applied Economics, will be completing a one-year fellowship at Housing Action Illinois as part of the Applied Community and Economic Development (ACED) Fellows Program at the Stevenson Center at Illinois State University. Stevenson Fellows are alumni of AmeriCorps or Peace Corps who choose to build on their passion for social change through an interdisciplinary graduate degree program and year-long Professional Practice experience. Before he started graduate school, Jerome served two AmeriCorps terms in Chicago at City Year and Cradles to Crayons.

Throughout the next year, Jerome will support Housing Action’s public policy advocacy efforts in a variety of ways. Part of his time will be spent managing a relationship inventory with Illinois’ federally elected officials and supporting voter engagement campaigns for member organizations leading up to the November midterms. He will also work on specific issues across the state, such as stabilizing and protecting immigrant families and how we can address the issue of eviction in Illinois.

After his fellowship, Jerome plans to continue a career in economic justice. “Growing up in the city of Chicago has shown me the massive inequity of our society,” Jerome shares. “I want to support communities that have been historically targeted by violent economic policy.”

He sees this work as essential for individuals, families, and society as a whole to thrive. As Jerome advocates, “demanding that our institutions provide justice is necessary for our entire community’s health.”