May 11, 2017
CCH recently welcomed Mary Tarullo to the staff, serving as our new associate director of policy.
We asked Mary to introduce herself.
I am thrilled to join CCH’s policy team to continue this renowned organization’s mission to end homelessness.
I got my start fighting for the human right to housing in 2004, as a caseworker for people living on the streets in Chicago. Working with people experiencing homelessness, learning about their stories and the obstacles they face, and being confronted with significant structural barriers as someone who was supposed to be able to house people in need — all motivated me to want to tackle the root causes of homelessness.
In 2005, after graduating from Grinnell College, I became a community organizer through the Americorps VISTA program in Boston, with the Mass Alliance of HUD Tenants. I organized Section 8 tenants to preserve their housing, which was at-risk and especially under pressure because of the real estate bubble of the pre-collapse 2000s.
I moved back home to Chicago (actually, I proudly hail from Berwyn) in 2007, when I started organizing with Lakeview Action Coalition (LAC).
While at LAC, I got to work on numerous campaigns to preserve and create affordable housing, including securing 57 units of affordable housing at the Children’s Memorial Hospital redevelopment site. It was the first affordable housing in Lincoln Park in 35 years. We won a $10 million fix to preserve at-risk HUD housing nationally, and organized numerous tenant associations to secure renewal of their Section 8 contracts.
In 2013 LAC merged with Organization of the North East, becoming ONE Northside. At ONE Northside, I staffed the Chicago for All Coalition, which led the effort to enact the city’s Single Room Occupancy (SRO) Preservation Ordinance. CCH was a key player in the coalition, and together, we passed the ordinance in November 2014. Since passage, the policy has preserved nearly 700 SRO units across seven buildings in gentrifying or gentrified communities.
I look forward to building on my 12+ years of experience by fighting for housing and running campaigns at CCH, focusing on citywide initiatives to guarantee the human right to housing for all.