Board Overview

The CHA Board of Commissioners is the governing body that determines policies and resolutions of CHA. The Board approves decisions that chart the direction of current and future programs and authorizes the actions of the Chief Executive Officer and his designees.

The ten-member Board of Commissioners is confirmed by the Chicago City Council.  All commissioners must be residents of Chicago, and at least three commissioners must be CHA residents. Employees of CHA are not authorized to serve as commissioners. Commissioners serve staggered five-year terms.

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john t. hooker

John T. Hooker, ComEd retired executive vice president, Legislative and External Affairs, is the Board Chairperson for the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners. He was appointed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in 2015.

Hooker, who holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Chicago State University, was responsible for managing state legislative initiatives, as well as developing and maintaining strategic relationships with key state stakeholders and large customers. Hooker also oversaw the functions of Real Estate and Facilities and Economic Development. ComEd is a unit of Chicago-based Exelon Corporation. ComEd delivers electricity to approximately 3.8 million residential and business customers across Northern Illinois, or 70 percent of the state’s population.

Exelon Corporation is one of the nation’s largest electric utilities with approximately $17 billion in annual revenues. The company has one of the industry’s largest portfolios of electricity generation capacity, with a nationwide reach and strong positions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic. Exelon distributes electricity to approximately 5.4 million customers in Illinois and Pennsylvania and natural gas to approximately 485,000 customers in southeastern Pennsylvania. Exelon is headquartered in Chicago and trades on the NYSE under the ticker EXC.

Prior to his appointment as executive vice president of Legislative and External Affairs, Hooker served as senior vice president of Legislative and Governmental Affairs and was responsible for managing ComEd’s relationships with the Chicago City Council, the Illinois General Assembly and other state agencies. Previous to that position, Hooker served as senior vice president of Legislative and External Affairs for ComEd. Simultaneously, Hooker served as vice president, Property Management, Exelon Energy Delivery, with responsibility for facilities, real estate, and claims at both ComEd and Philadelphia-based sister company PECO Energy.

Hooker served in numerous ComEd departments for 44 years, holding management positions in industrial relations, marketing, governmental, and regulatory affairs. His expertise was instrumental to the passage of Illinois’ Customer Choice Law of 1997. He is also a founding member of the Exelon African American Members’ Association (EAAMA). Founded in 1990, the organization focuses on building members’ individual growth opportunities within the company.

Hooker serves on the board of directors of the Chicago State University Foundation, assisting in organizing and implementing the annual fundraiser campaign and providing advice to the university’s leaders where appropriate; Peoples Consumer Cooperative, which provides low-cost housing for the elderly; the Safer Foundation, a non-profit organization helping former offenders build productive lives; Junior Achievement, a non-profit organization whose purpose is “to educate and inspire young people to value free enterprise, business, and economics to improve the quality of their lives” and The African American Legacy Initiative, a non-profit organization that improves the quality of life of the residents of our communities.

Hooker is a member of the American Association of Blacks in Energy, an organization devoted to increasing the number of blacks and other minorities in energy-related fields. He is also a member of Chicago State University’s Business Hall of Fame committee and is involved with the Chicago Public Schools Youth Motivation Program.

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Matthew Brewer

Matthew Brewer, a partner at the law firm Bartlit Beck Herman Palenchar & Scott LLP, serves on the agency’s Board of Commissioners.

At Bartlit Beck, Brewer practices commercial litigation in federal and state courts and advises clients on legal and business issues. His practice includes breach of contract, patent infringement, false advertising, employment, antitrust, and other commercial disputes.

Brewer attended Stanford University where he served as student body president and obtained his B.A with honors. After college, he worked in the Chinese music industry as a consultant on marketing and intellectual property issues.

Brewer earned a J.D. from Yale Law School and an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School. At Harvard, he received the prestigious Bert King Award, which recognizes individuals for their dedication to service as well as their academic, professional and leadership accomplishments.

Brewer grew up on the South Side of Chicago. He is married to Constance Brewer.

The Chicago City Council approved the appointment of Brewer as a member of the Board of Commissioners on Wednesday, Nov. 13, 2013.

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Craig Chico

Craig Chico is the President of the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council. With the assistance of the Board of Directors, Mr. Chico has made the BYNC a dominant community agency in the Back of the Yards Neighborhood, and a model community organization for the entire nation.The council’s mission and activities are aimed at improving the lives of all residents and stakeholders in the Back of the Yards Neighborhood, which is achieved by providing social service and economic development programs.
 
Mr. Chico has deep roots in the Back of the Yards community and years of experience in community service. He attended school in Chicago, at Kelly High School and at UIC. He began his professional career in his family’s business. He worked at Kopico, Inc.,his family-owned printing and marketing company. The business doubled in revenue in his time there, making Kopico Inc., a premier leader in the print industry.
 
Before beginning his tenure at BYNC, Mr. Chico owned and operated CACV Consulting. The firm specialized in business development and government revenue financing.
 
Mr. Chico currently sits on several community boards, including the Peace and Education Coalition, El Valor, Neighborhood Housing Services (NHS), Chicago Development Fund Advisory Board and Community and Economic Development Association of Cook County (CEDA), Illinois Legislative Latino Caucus Foundation Board, and the Cook County Latino Advisory Board. Among the many honors and awards Mr. Chico has received, he is most proud of the Kelly High School Hall of Fame Distinguished Alumni Award, the Neighborhood Housing Services Man of the Year Award, and MALDEF’s Excellence in Community Service Award. 

Today, the BYNC serves thousands of families through a variety of different services. Some of the programs offered include: youth programming, senior assistance, technical assistance to business, and English as a second Language (ESL) courses.

Under his administration, the BYNC is responsible for economic development in both retail and industrial corridors on the Southwest Side of Chicago. The BYNC is the only organization to manage four Special Service Areas (SSAs) for the city’s Department of Planning and Development.

Under Mr. Chico’s leadership, the Back of the Yards Neighborhood Council continues to serve as an anchor in the community. Its mission and programs are the driving force in the effort to improve the quality of life for the Back of the Yards.

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Mark Cozzi

Mark Cozzi currently is a Senior Managing Director for The Electrum Group, the investment arm for the Kaplan Family.

He is involved in numerous civic and charitable activities including: treasurer, West Lakeview Neighbors; board member, Equality Illinois; board of regents, the Point Foundation; and member, the Society for Contemporary Art, part of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Cozzi received his MBA from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University and his BBA in accounting and finance from the University of Wisconsin.

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Dr. Mildred Harris

Commissioner Mildred  C. Harris is a retired schoolteacher, mentor, and ordained minister. She was first appointed to the CHA Board of Commissioners on July 7, 1999, and has since received three reappointments due to her exemplary leadership and continued commitment to CHA improvement.

As a commissioner, Dr. Harris has pioneered and contributed to various CHA-related efforts. She created the “Adopt-A-Senior Building” program, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars to refurnish the sitting areas in more than 57 CHA senior buildings. As a result, CHA received an award lauding the program from the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials. Dr. Harris is Founder, President and CEO of God First Church and Ministries, which has contributed well over $40,000 in scholarships for CHA students. She also established a food pantry for CHA senior residents.

Commissioner Harris participates in numerous civic and religious organizations. She serves on the Advisory Board for Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan and on the Advisory Council for Illinois State Treasurer Dan Rutherford; she sits on the Women’s Board of the Goodman Theatre, is a life member of the National Council of Negro Women and is an Honorary Board Member of Windows of Opportunity.

Commissioner Harris earned a B.A. Degree in Education from DePaul University in Chicago; an M.A. in Early Childhood from Columbia University in New York ;  an M.A. in Human Development from Governor's State University in Park Forest, IL; an M.A. in Pastoral Studies from Loyola University in Chicago; and a PhD in Ministry from the International Bible Institute and Seminary in Plymouth, Fla. She has also completed studies in Real Estate Management.

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Meghan Harte

Meghan Harte serves as the executive director of the Chicago office of the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). A national leader in comprehensive community development, LISC Chicago’s mission is to connect neighborhoods to the resources they need to become stronger and healthier. Meghan oversees a professional staff of 13, an active real estate loan portfolio, and an annual organizational budget of $8 million.

Prior to joining LISC Chicago, Meghan served as Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s Deputy Chief of Staff. Previous to working in the Mayor’s office, Meghan was Vice President at AECOM. She also served as the Managing Director of Resident Services for the Chicago Housing Authority.

Meghan served as a deputy chief of staff for Mayor Richard M. Daley and held positions surrounding the 1996 Democratic National Convention and the 2012 NATO Host Committee.

Meghan holds a B.S. degree from Vanderbilt University and received her JD from Loyola University Chicago School of Law. She serves on the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners, is on the board of Special Children's Charities Chicago and is a volunteer coach at ABC Pilsen.

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John G. Markowski

John G. (Jack) Markowski, President of Community Investment Corporation (CIC), oversees the leading source of loans for the rehabilitation of multifamily residential buildings in the Chicago region. Capitalized by investments from 35 financial institutions, since 1984, CIC has originated $1.1 billion in loans for the acquisition and rehabilitation of 1,800 buildings with 46,000 units.  Markowski also serves as President of Community Initiatives Inc., that through receiverships and the acquisition of troubled properties, directly intervenes in the preservation of affordable rental housing.  Since April 2011, Markowski has served as Chairman of The Preservation Compact, a regional initiative to preserve affordable rental housing in Cook County. 

From 1999 through June 2007, Markowski served as Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Housing.  During his tenure, the Department spent more than $3 billion to assist more than 100,000 housing units in Chicago, including more than 5,200 SRO units, 5,700 units for senior housing, and 2,000 new single family homes. In addition to overseeing the administration of Low Income Housing Tax Credits and the country’s largest locally funded rental subsidy program, Markowski dramatically increased the Department’s use of tax-exempt bonds and Tax Increment Financing. He helped to enact legislation in  support of affordable housing, including the Illinois Donations Tax Credit, the Statewide Mortgage Document Recording Fee (for rental subsides), the Chicago Downtown Density Bonus and Chicago’s Affordable Requirements Ordinance.

Prior to joining the Department of Housing in 1992, Markowski served as the first Executive Director of the North West Housing Partnership, an organization that promotes and develops affordable housing in Chicago’s North and Northwest suburbs.

From 1981 to 1990, Markowski served as Executive Director of the Edgewater Community Council, which under his leadership, reversed a cycle of decline and stimulated more than $55 million in investment and rehabilitation of 5,200 units of housing in the Winthrop-Kenmore corridor.

Markowski holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Chicago and a master’s degree from the University of Oregon. A resident of Chicago’s Edgewater community, he is married and the father of three daughters.

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FRANCINE WASHINGTON

Francine Washington was appointed to the Chicago Housing Authority Board of Commissioners in June 2014.

A longtime and respected voice in the Chicago resident leadership community, Washington was recently elected as the President of the Central Advisory Council, and is also President of the Washington Park Local Advisory Committee. She has also served on many other important Boards in the city, including the Bronzeville Alliance, the National Public Housing Museum, and has served as at-large president of Stateway Gardens/Park Boulevard Local Advisory Council. She is also a member of the Stateway Associates Working Group.

In her various roles, Washington has aggressively addressed important issues that affect communities and residents, such as community safety, building maintenance, and the need for public housing residents to be recognized and supported. She has also seen to it that CHA residents are healthy, serving as Director of the Summer Food Program, in which CHA residents are provided healthy meals free-of-charge. She has selected sites for the program, hired and trained staff, provided management and prepared applications, contracts and applications for the program.