Manager (Housing & Community Development Policy)

05 Jun, 2020


Manager (Housing & Community Development Policy)

Metropolitan Planning Council
Chicago, IL

Over the past four years, MPC’s housing and community development has significantly evolved, thanks to the powerful, organization-wide impact of our Cost of Segregation findings and Our Equitable Future recommendations. Informed by more than 100 advisors, in 2018, we developed two dozen ambitious housing and community development recommendations, which we continually refine. Now we are seeking a Manager who can contribute to that vision, cultivate deeper relationships, and structure a coordinated state and regional housing policy change framework. MPC prioritizes policy changes that address Chicago’s and the region’s inequitable distribution of affordable housing and other community assets, analyzed through a racial equity lens. Successful execution requires policy and programmatic coordination with multiple partners across municipal borders, as well as the ability to communicate about and resolve challenging issues with stakeholders ranging from heads of government to community residents. The ideal candidate will be passionate about engaging with communities in ways that honor and elevate their voices, committed to policy changes that advance equitable development and affordable housing, adept at understanding and communicating ideas to and with a range of audiences, and committed to antiracism to achieve racial equity.

The Position:

MPC is hiring a full-time Manager to support current and future projects that deepen the organization’s housing policy and community development work. MPC seeks a highly motivated individual with a background in urban planning, housing policy and community or economic development. This individual will enrich existing housing policy initiatives and relationships, manage technical assistance partnerships, and contribute to developing new and innovative lines of work.

The position will report to MPC Director of Community Development and Engagement Kendra Freeman, work closely with other members of the Housing and Community Development team, and interface with research, communications, development, and government relations colleagues.

Primary responsibilities include:

  1. Implementing all housing and community development recommendations in Our Equitable Future and subsequent Policy Agendas, from legislation to limit aldermanic prerogative, to supporting the establishment of a city EITC, to advancing increased housing options for people with involvement in the criminal justice system. This involves working in partnership with multiple organizations and at city, regional and state levels.
  2. Spearheading “Preserving Affordability Together”, a collaborative technical assistance tool that equips communities with data and relationships needed to plan proactively to address displacement pressures emerging from catalytic investments. It is a partnership with DePaul’s Institute for Housing Studies and was piloted in 2019 in East Garfield Park. The Manager will identify potential future neighborhoods based on established criteria, hold exploratory discussions with community leaders to assess MPC’s value-add, convene working groups of community stakeholders and data partners to interpret neighborhoods level data, and co-develop a blueprint for action with community leaders. The Manager will also coordinate evaluation; research best practices, data sources and policy interventions that reflect the needs of end users; and create strategies to introduce the tool to new local, regional and national audiences, including funders.
  3. Developing and advancing MPC’s local and state legislative agenda on housing and community development. This includes research, proposing and evaluating policy recommendations that promote affordable housing production and preservation as well as tenant protections, co-convening the Housing Policy Roundtable with Housing Action Illinois, and coordinating with the Chicago Department of Housing and Illinois Housing Development Authority on improved housing policies and programs (incl. the Affordable Requirements Ordinance, future Qualified Allocation Plan revisions, and more). This may also include support for implementing and monitoring a Regional Assessment of Fair Housing in Cook County.
  4. Serve as one of MPC’s primary spokespersons on issues of housing and community development policy, and engage in direct advocacy with a range of elected officials and government staff, including the Illinois General Assembly, Chicago City Council, and State and City executive branches. It is expected this individual will help shape MPC’s overall government relations strategy, develop and deliver testimony, and interact with lawmakers, other public officials, and advocacy organizations. Occasional travel to Springfield will be required.
  5. Maintaining and building relationships with housing and community development partners across the region to advance policies that increase the equitable distribution of affordable housing, community assets, and equitable development practices. Organizations may range from city, regional and state housing agencies to advocacy and community-based organizations doing on-the-ground work.
  6. Supporting Elevated Chicago’s Systems Change Working Group co-led by MPC
    1. Reforming policy and advancing systems change related to equitable transit-oriented development at CTA station nodes
    2. Supporting community-based ownership models e.g. land banking and cooperatives
  7. Advancing narrative change and elevating housing and community development related issues by working with MPC’s communications team to write about and share materials with a variety of audiences, including elected officials and the media
  8. Partnering with MPC’s research team to identify, scope out, and execute relevant data analysis to refine, assess, and advance MPC’s housing and community development policy agenda
  9. Coordinating public events and workshops to further MPC’s initiatives
  10. Supporting engagement of MPC’s Housing & Community Development committee members and other external partners

MPC seeks an organized, high-energy individual who thrives in a collegial work environment and can adhere to deadlines on multiple initiatives. The ideal candidate has five or more years of relevant experience, which could include a master’s degree, and:

  • is a creative thinker able to help build MPC’s community development and housing policy work, and integrate it with other emerging MPC initiatives;
  • is a self-starter, able to prioritize, handle concurrent tasks and projects, and work in a fluid environment;
  • is able to communicate clearly and directly and work collaboratively with staff colleagues and external partners;
  • desires to make a positive impact on the greater Chicago region;
  • is patient and eager to learn;
  • is energized by the body of issues that MPC addresses and committed to supporting the organization’s mission;
  • is passionate about developing their own as well as MPC’s competency in diversity, racial equity and inclusion;
  • has worked or otherwise been part of a diverse range of communities and community groups;
  • has a sense of humor;
  • is an excellent writer and public speaker;
  • is both entrepreneurial and executes skillfully on assigned work;
  • has a working knowledge of regional actors and institutions in northeastern Illinois; and
  • has experience communicating complex ideas to a diverse, public audience.

MPC is a values-driven workplace and we are seeking candidates with a demonstrated commitment to creating a region that is:

  1. Equitable: For MPC, equity means that every individual and community in our region has the opportunities they need to thrive. Promoting equity means that we recognize the harm that discrimination and racism have caused and continue to pose to our lives and neighborhoods. That’s why we drive policies, investments and ideas that ensure all current and future residents can reach their full potential.
  2. Prosperous: For MPC, prosperity means that both metropolitan Chicago and all of its people are economically healthy and prepared for growth. MPC is focused on ensuring that everyone who lives and works in our region can provide for themselves and their families. We support commitments that bring resources, development, and fairly paid and quality jobs to all communities.
  3. Sustainable: For MPC, sustainability means that our region meets the natural, human and financial needs of the present while improving conditions for future generations. MPC’s agenda supports ecological vitality, residents’ health and economic stability for the long term, and ensures that as things change, our region adapts.
  4. Engaged and Responsible: For MPC, civic participation and effective government are cornerstones of our region’s viability. We drive policies that strengthen the participation and impact of residents in local and regional decisions. We also promote adaptive, collaborative, just and transparent governance at all levels.

How to apply:

Please send the following materials by email to: Skyler Larrimore at

1) A letter detailing how your experience relates to the job being filled;

2) Your résumé; and

3) A short writing sample (2-3 pages)

4) Three professional references

No phone calls please.

For more information on MPC, please visit our website:

MPC is an equal opportunity employer.

Job posted: 2020-06-05