40 Under 40 | Daniel Kay Hertz | Crain’s Chicago Business


Daniel Kay Hertz, 35

Director of policy

Chicago Department of Housing

Daniel Kay Hertz recognizes the policy he’s crafting at the Chicago Department of Housing will one day be evaluated in the academic urban histories he’s spent much of his life immersed in.

Hertz transitioned from researcher and author to the newly created role of director of policy at the revived Housing Department in 2019. At the time, he knew it would be a tough job.

“We do not exist in a national policy environment that says housing is a human right or that every person deserves safe and stable housing,” he says now. “Everything we do is in that context, and that’s a pretty heavy current to be rowing against.”

Now ensconced in his “dream job,” he can stamp his own imprint on a “housing market that has the government’s fingerprints all over it in a million different ways.”

When Housing Commissioner Marisa Novara sought advice from Hertz— who had recently published “The Battle of Lincoln Park: Urban Renewal and Gentrification in Chicago” and worked as director of the Center for Tax & Budget Accountability— on who should fill the position, she was surprised he was interested in it himself.

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November 7, 2022 at 06:47AM

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