Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Fair Housing & Environmental Justice

Paula Brkich, Lending and Community Development Program Director
Ms. Brkich joined HOPE in June of 2013. Her work as Lending and Community Development Program Director will focus on developing innovative ways to assist communities to restore neighborhoods hardest hit by the foreclosure crisis, especially those most damaged by improperly maintained vacant properties, with an emphasis on turning distressed neighborhoods into communities of choice for all. She has been involved in the housing industry throughout her career, most recently as a Housing Counselor at DuPage Homeownership Center, where she counseled hundreds of first-time homebuyers, and homeowners struggling to keep their homes as a result of the economic recession. As a result of her work, DHOC achieved recognition from Illinois Housing Development Authority as Housing Counseling Agency of the year, and was ranked 2nd in the state among agencies providing Hardest Hit counseling to Illinois homeowners struggling with unemployment. Prior to working at DHOC, Ms. Brkich managed the Homeownership Housing Counseling Center and the Housing Resource Center as Housing Specialist for Bethel New Life, a community development organization on the west side of Chicago, where she counseled homebuyers, renters, and assisted in real estate development projects as well as co-wrote the financial literacy program. Ms. Brkich began her career at Metropolitan Milwaukee Fair Housing Council as Housing Specialist and later Program Director of the Center for Integrated Living. Through her work counseling buyers who wished to move into suburbs where their race was underrepresented, the County school district was able to realize savings of $3 million in the costs of busing students for desegregation purposes. She is an alumna of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she majored in Geography and Geology. She is a past President of the Wisconsin Metro Audubon Society, and she is proud to serve currently on the Board of Directors of DuPage Habitat for Humanity.