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HOW's hosted its first-ever virtual luncheon to shed light on the current eviction crisis, its local implications, and ways to help. We were so pleased to have a large online audience engage with our expert panel on this pressing issue. The event explored the topic of eviction through personal narratives and a thrilling panel discussion with four experts from diverse fields spanning government and law to banking and property management.   

For those who couldn't attend, or those who want to view and share, you can now view a recording of yesterday's luncheon.

We are also pleased to share, with the help of the community, attendees, and sponsors, HOW is 70% towards its event goal of raising $100,000. To those of you who made this possible, thank you! And if you haven't made a gift yet, there is still time to help HOW cross the finish line if you are able.

The eviction crisis is gaining widespread national attention due to the expected surge in the number of evictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the crisis' newfound fame, Chicago has a storied eviction history that continues today with 
1 in every 25 households facing eviction each year.

HOW's 2020 Virtual Luncheon, Locked Out: A Closer Look at Our Eviction Crisis, will bring together a panel of diverse thought leaders in conversation around this pressing topic and its intersection with other critical issues around racial, economic, and housing justice.

Join other community members and HOW supporters virtually on October 15th to learn more about the current eviction crisis, its lasting effects, and possible solutions. 


  • Welcome from HOW

  • Monique's Story

  • Panel Discussion

  • Q&A

  • Thank You

Meet Our Panelists


Moderated by:


Senior Producer, WBEZ



Deputy Governor, State of Illinois

Sol Flores serves as Deputy Governor in the Pritzker administration overseeing Health and Human Services. Flores is the founding Executive Director of La Casa Norte, a non-profit organization established in 2002 that has served more than 30,000 youth and families confronting homelessness. Flores built La Casa Norte from two employees to an 80+ employee, multi-million-dollar organization that delivers inspiration, hope and critical services to the lives of youth and families experiencing homelessness.


She has served on numerous working groups, commissions and local nonprofit boards as a tireless advocate. Flores was raised by a single mother who came to Chicago from Puerto Rico and has been recognized as a national Champion of Change for her work by the Obama White House.

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Director of the Housing Practice Group at Legal Aid Chicago

Dennericka Brooks is the Director of the Housing Practice Group. Brooks has spent her career at Legal Aid Chicago, first as a generalist working in diverse areas of poverty law, including family, housing, consumer, and employment. As a supervisor, she has specialized in subsidized housing law ensuring that tenants live in decent, safe, and affordable housing that is free from discrimination. Brooks helped to create and manage the Woodlawn Legal Clinic on Chicago’s south side and served as a mock trial coach.


Currently, she serves as an Adjunct Faculty Member teaching trial practice at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Brooks mentors students at Loyola and has served as a tutor and board member of Minority Legal Education Resources, a not-for-profit bar preparation program. 



President, 5T Construction Inc.

Steve Thomas is Operations Director of Five T Management Inc. (W/WBE) and President of 5T Construction Inc., both Chicago based companies with approximately 25 employees. Since 2004, Thomas has focused primarily on the acquisition and rehabilitation of multi-family real estate in low-to-moderate-income neighborhoods of Chicago. He has managed the renovation and property management of more than 1000+ apartment units consisting of NOAH (naturally occurring affordable housing) and subsidized units throughout Chicago.


Thomas was a founding member of the South Side Community Investors Association, a non-profit that promotes the ownership, management, development and expansion of real estate on the south side of Chicago. He is on the Leadership Committee of The Preservation Compact, which brings together leaders from the public and private sectors to improve existing affordable rental housing stock in Cook County and a member of HUD’s Region V’s Housing Preservation Task Force Team. Thomas is a native of Washington, DC and holds a B.S. in Systems Engineering from Howard University. He resides in the Hyde Park area with his wife, Deona Thomas.



Vice President of Lending Operations at Chicago Community Loan Fund

Wendell Harris has over 20 years of commercial real estate, property management, and banking experience. He was promoted to Vice President of Lending Operations in 2019, after serving as Director of Lending Operations following a brief tenure as Senior Loan/Program Officer for CCLF.

In the past five years, Harris has underwritten investments at CCLF that leveraged $253.20 million in real estate transactions that strengthen lower-wealth communities. He has held various positions in Treasury Management, Retail Management, Business Banking, and Commercial Real Estate at leading financial institutions such as Northern Trust, LaSalle Bank N.A., Charter One, GE Capital, and Urban Partnership Bank.  He also worked for Midway Broadcasting (WVON radio) in Marketing and Sales.

* If you're interested in becoming a sponsor, please visit our sponsorship page


Jim and Kay Mabie /


Denis and Martha Pierce



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Urvi and Apurva Shah



Clare Golla / 

 Bernstein Private Wealth Management

Melinda Holland

Joe Moore / 
Joe Moore 
Strategies, LLC

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Attendees will have the opportunity to ask panelists questions during a Q&A after the panel concludes.

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