Windy City Media Group Frontpage News
Celebrating 30 Years of Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Trans News
home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2018-08-08
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Incoming Chicago House CEO looks ahead
by Matt Simonette
2016-05-15

facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Scott Ammarell says that housing is an issue that he's long been passionate about.

"One of the things I've learned is the necessity of having a roof over your head," said Ammarell, who, for many years, was a counsel for Chicago Housing Authority ( CHA ). On May 4, Chicago House and Social Services Agency announced that Ammarell would be its new CEO, replacing Rev. Stan Sloan, who will be leaving the organization at the end of June.

"When I found out that Stan was leaving, I was very interested in finding out whether I was a good fit for this position, because I have a passion for this community and a passion for housing," Ammarell recalled.

A native of Naperville, Illinois, Ammarell worked as counsel in the development and construction industry before going to CHA.

"It's so eye-opening to see the level of need, everywhere in the community," he said. "Not just in the LGBT community either. We'd open waitlists with 30,000 or 40,000 slots on them, and we'd get 300,000 people applying for these slots."

Ammarell said that a key lesson he learned working for CHA was that "all of the problems CHA deals with stem from maybe four or five percent of its clientele. The rest of them, 95 or 96 percent of the people, are just really trying to live their lives and get ahead. You realize what their struggles are. … I really internalized a lot of what they're going through."

While Ammarell was at CHA, the agency enforced a controversial federally mandated "one-strike" policy that prescribed automatic evictions for residents accused of criminal activity, including low-level drug offenses. Sometimes residents were threatened with eviction even if a guest or family member was accused—and not necessarily convicted—of wrong-doing. Critics charged that the policy was a means by which to clear residents from housing. Ammarell denied that.

"The rule was always there, but I was in a position where I was able to see that a hard-and-fast application of that rule could easily create a hardship and unfair situation," he said. "While I was chief legal officer, the CHA moved towards allowing people to move towards probation rather than losing their housing."

Property managers were initially responsible for following through on evictions, Ammarell said. The process was brought in-house and carried out by CHA officials under his watch. He added, "It had been inconsistently applied. Towards the end of my tenure there, I worked very hard to make sure that the policy was consistently applied to everyone, to make sure that, each person was able to take advantage of the probation rules if appropriate."

He said he viewed rules like "one-strike" as being inappropriate for the work Chicago House does. "The better approach is seeing people where they're at and work with them to get to a helpful, less-harmful place," Ammarell explained. "If residents are doing things that are self-destructive or getting them into trouble with the law, the idea is to assist them to get them to a better place, rather than just punish them for their infractions. Obviously, it will be situational, but I absolutely have no intention of trying to implement such a rule [at Chicago House]."

Ammarell was also active with Test Positive Aware Network ( TPAN ). "I joined the board there in 2010. One of the first things I did was to sign up for the Ride for AIDS. I thought that if I was going to learn more about the agency, one of the best ways to do it was jump in feet-first," he said. "With that, and serving on the board, I got a feel for what it takes to sustain an agency. Where does the money come from? Like Chicago House, it's a combination of fundraising, grants and other financing."

In the years ahead, Ammarell said, all social-service organizations will face significant challenges, adding, "The availability of funding is changing, and the challenge is to change with it. … Having a specific project, and a specific thing to fund, is the way to go. It's really becoming the focus of how funds are raised. The idea is to have a solid idea of a specific project and seek financing for that."

He said it was too early for him to elaborate on these ideas, but added, "I can say, that's consistent with what Chicago House does. If you look at the second word in its name—'house'—there are opportunities out there to enhance and expand the housing, and that's one of the things I will focus on. … It's going to take a lot of effort to make sure that the funding streams are there, and look for others. One of the things we did at CHA was making sure that there was a group of people always looking for funding opportunities," he added.

Chicago House's mission has evolved dramatically over the years. At its May 1 spring brunch, Sloan said that it had shifted from being about "loss and despair" to "hope and opportunity."

Reflecting on the organization's current work in HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention, Ammarell said, "I think there's a real synergy between an organization like Chicago House and an organization like Howard Brown and others that operate medical facilities. I really would like to explore how we can take advantage of that synergy, and how we can enhance what Howard Brown is doing and what Chicago House is doing. I absolutely think that there's work to be done with respect to prevention as well. I find it amazing that there are people out there speaking negatively about PrEP. It just reminds me, that kind of antagonism is born out of naiveté and misinformation. … You have to be vigilant about making sure that people remain educated."

He added that Chicago House has had one of "the best starts" in terms of its work with the transgender community. "I think it's absolutely incredible what Chicago House has done. I think there will be opportunities to expand on that. As people are learning about trans people, and finding out about the odds they face—the discrimination, the lack of housing, the lack of job training and availability—you're seeing people's attitudes change and doors opening. … The work that has been done must continue, and will continue."


facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Dedry Jones, remembered 2018-09-19 - More than 200 people gathered at DuSable Museum of African American History on Chicago's South Side Aug. 8 for the memorial ceremony of ...


Gay News

Queer, Ill + Okay hosts 'HIV/AIDS in the Age of PrEP' 2018-08-15 - QUEER, ILL + OKAY ( QIO ), in partnership with Howard Brown Health, hosted a panel discussion focusing on HIV/AIDS in the Age ...


Gay News

WORLD Report on LGBTQ groups, Costa Rica marriage, Kenyan HIV lab 2018-08-14 - A report has found that nearly half of the world's countries do not allow LGBTQ groups to organize without threat of arrest or ...


Gay News

U=U HIV event on Aug. 16 2018-08-08 - On Thursday, Aug. 16, 1-6 p.m., "U=U" will celebrate the science and advocacy that has shown that people living with HIV on successful ...


Gay News

Local psychologist hopes to be first gay APA president 2018-08-08 - Recently, Dr. Armand Cerbone was nominated as one of the five finalists on the ballot to become president of the American Psychological Association ...


Gay News

Duane Cerny on new book, antiques and Gwendolyn Brooks 2018-08-08 - When Duane Cerny was a child, his favorite place to hang out was in his parents basement because it was filled with '50s-era ...


Gay News

Julie Goodridge talks investing, historic marriage-equality case 2018-08-08 - Throughout most of her working life, Julie Goodridge has been interested in socially responsible investing ( SRI ). That, and her desire to ...


Gay News

GUEST VIEW: AIDS then and global anti-LGBTQ persecution now--We know what to do 2018-08-06 - I've been here before. I hear it in their stories. Fearful of rejection by their own families, silenced by a fiercely homophobic culture, ...


Gay News

NATIONAL Housing lawsuit, AIDS event, trans ICE case, gay men egged 2018-07-31 - A group of advocates at last week's International AIDS Conference ( AIDS 2018 ) in Amsterdam is calling for the next conference—scheduled for ...


Gay News

Howard Brown Health Presents "Let's Talk About PrEP" song and music video 2018-07-30 - CHICAGO, July 27, 2018 — Today, Howard Brown Health unveiled a new song and music video, "Let's Talk About PrEP," to continue raising ...


 



Copyright © 2018 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS

Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Sponsor

About WCMG Publications News Index  Entertainment Features Bars & Clubs Calendar Videos Advertisers OUT! Guide    Marriage


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Subscriptions      Distribution      Windy City Queercast     
Queercast Archives      Advertising  Rates      Deadlines      Advanced Search     
Press  Releases      Event Photos      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Post an Event      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Blogs      Spotlight  Video     
Classifieds      Real Estate      Place a  Classified     

Windy City Media Group produces Windy City Queercast, & publishes Windy City Times,
The Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community,
Nightspots, Out! Resource Guide, and Identity.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.