Chicago Housing Authority’s Owner Symposium celebrates 12th year with week-long online event

Oct 1, 2021

CHICAGO (Oct. 1, 2021) – The 12th CHA Owner Symposium, known as “Symposium Week ’21,” took another step forward last week, gathering on a new, interactive virtual platform for another year of education, networking and celebration.

The week opened with a video featuring CHA’s Chief Executive Officer Tracey Scott, who reflected on the history of the Owner Symposium, the first of which was in 2008 and has since grown exponentially to its current level, drawing 1,000 property owners, managers, investors, brokers, realtors and real estate professionals.

“I don’t think any organization but CHA could host an event like the Symposium year over year”, Scott said. “CHA is deeply committed to fostering these relationships and building on our strong foundations”.

CHA’s Chief HCV Officer Cheryl Burns kicked off the live event with a message about choosing the right tools for the job, followed by an opening panel discussion entitled “Adjusting Course in Uncertain Times: 18 Months of Triumphs and Catastrophes.” CHA Chief Operating Officer James Bebley discussed operational strategies with U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Region V Deputy Regional Administrator James Cunningham and incoming Illinois Realtors President Ezekiel “Zeke” Morris, citing the flexible response of the housing industry in the face of unprecedented market conditions.

Throughout the week, subject matter experts spoke on 12 topics, from property insurance, taxes and safety to credit scores, fair housing laws and energy efficiency, with attendees collaborating in the livestream chat to ask questions, provide helpful resources and share their experiences.

Between sessions, dozens gathered in video networking rooms to continue their conversations while hundreds more made connections and chatted one-on-one inside the secure event platform. 

On Friday, CEO Scott returned for the Closing Session, offering her thanks to all who have made 12 years of the event possible before welcoming Community Investment Corporation President and CEO Stacie Young to moderate a panel entitled “The Future of Affordable Housing: Thinking Nationally, Acting Locally”.

Young was joined by Chicago Department of Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara, HUD Assistant Deputy Secretary from the Office of Field Policy and Management Michele Perez and Neighborhood Housing Services Director Linda Greene. They discussed the importance of reframing the conversation on long-term rental assistance and building wealth equitably as well as data sharing and collaborative problem solving.

CHA Commissioner Dr. Mildred Harris closed the event with a centering message encouraging attendees to continue building on the relationships fostered at the Symposium.

“As an educator, I believe we can change our immediate communities, our nation, and the world at large through engagement,” Dr. Harris said.

Access to the Symposium Week ’21 online platform, including session recordings, will remain free and open to all until the end of October at



The CHA’s vision is to foster strong, vibrant communities throughout Chicago by increasing affordable housing choices for low-income families. The CHA is also the largest rental housing owner in the City of Chicago. It serves more than 133,000 people in 63,000 households across the city through our Public Housing, Housing Choice Voucher, and Project-Based Voucher programs. For more information, visit