Odette Yousef | WBEZ
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Odette Yousef

Odette Yousef


Odette Yousef is a WBEZ reporter covering immigration, race and class. 

Since joining the station in 2010, Odette has covered a range of stories including local and state efforts around immigration policy, DREAMers and the impact of travel bans on Muslim-Americans and refugees. She has also delved into the reality of homelessness in Chicago, with stories about tent cities and the disappearance of affordable housing on the North Side. In 2016, Odette was part of a team at WBEZ to win a National Edward R. Murrow Award for best Continuing Coverage of how local officials in Puerto Rico were sending drug addicts to unlicensed therapy groups in Chicago, with false promises of professional treatment.

Odette’s coverage includes enterprise and data reporting, and she has contributed to NPR’s Morning Edition and All Things Considered, PRI’s The World and WNYC’s The Takeaway. In 2015, she served as president of the Chicago Headline Club, which is the largest chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.

Prior to joining WBEZ, Odette was a reporter at WABE FM in Atlanta.

Odette received a B.A. in Economics and East Asian Studies from Harvard University.

Recent Stories


50,000 In Cook County Will Have To Work To Maintain Food Stamps

In 2020, Cook County will not be exempt from an 80-hour-a-month work requirement for able-bodied food stamp recipients without children.


Survey Credits Chicago For Immigrant Policies, But Critics Have Doubts

A national survey puts Chicago at the top when it comes to welcoming immigrants. But local immigrant advocates say it gives too much credit.


More Than Jobs: What Chicago’s West Side Lost When The Factories Closed

The manufacturing sector’s decline hit nearly all of Chicago, but the city's black communities suffered the worst blow.


Bridgeview Bank Building Closes Chapter As Uptown Service Hub

Gentrification has been underway in Uptown for years. But now, even service agencies that have helped define Uptown are being displaced.


At The Argyle Night Market, A Portrait Of A Changing Uptown

On the last night of this summer’s market, residents reflect on their evolving community — and an event that brings them together.


Residents Fight To Stay In Their Humboldt Park Apartment Building

Residents of a 26-unit apartment complex in the heart of Chicago’s Puerto Rican neighborhood are fighting to keep their building affordable.


Progressives' Grade For Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s First 100 Days: D

Progressives say Lightfoot seems a lot like her predecessor. She says she’s starting “a completely different way of governing in Chicago.”


Land Bank Sees Opportunities in Scavenger Tax Sale

Cook County’s scavenger tax sale yields relatively little of unpaid taxes that property owners owe. Could it be used for something else?


Chicago Property Tax Bills Shift Toward Equity

Expert says property tax bills that Chicago homeowners will soon receive represent a step toward a fairer system — but there’s more to do.


CPS Teacher Develops Toolkit To Fight White Nationalism

A Chicago teacher has developed a toolkit to help school communities to recognize and confront white nationalism among students.

Morning Shift

Renters With Records Protected Under New Cook County Board Bill

Last week the Cook County Board of Commissioners voted to pass the Just Housing Amendment, a measure that would limit landlords’ and property owners’ ability to ask a potential tenant about their criminal history. The move was hailed by supporters as a major step toward reuniting families and fighting housing discrimination, but some property owners say the board rushed the decision without sufficient public input. Morning Shift checks in with the measure’s sponsor, Commissioner Brandon Johnson, about why he thinks the measure was important to add to the existing housing ordinance in Cook County, and respond to landlords’ concerns.  

Morning Shift

Planned Parenthood’s Dr. Leana Wen Fights For Reproductive Health

Dr. Leana Wen is fighting abortion restrictions at the state and federal level and expanding Planned Parenthood’s suite of health services.

Morning Shift

WBEZ’s Chicago And Illinois News Roundup: April 26, 2019

Gov. Pritzker is under federal investigation, the state investigates handling of the AJ Freund case, and Toni Preckwinkle lays out her plan.

Morning Shift

New Book Reflects On Changes To Chicago's South Shore Neighborhood

Author Carlo Rotella discusses his new book The World is Always Coming to an End: Pulling Together and Apart in a Chicago Neighborhood.


Walmart Warehouse Workers Claim Racist Practices

Several black workers at the Walmart Distribution Center in Elwood, Ill., say the company discriminated against them.

Morning Shift

Preet Bharara Talks Justice, The Mueller Report And Podcasting

Two years ago, President Trump requested the resignation of 46 United States Attorneys. That’s not unusual for a new president. But some were surprised at how abrupt the move was. Among them was Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Bharara had been the top prosecutor in that office since 2009. During his time there, that team toppled wealthy financial titans through insider trading cases, convicted powerful and corrupt politicians at the New York state capital, jailed terrorists, and more. After leaving the Southern District Office, Bharara has gone on to teach at New York University’s school of law and to host his own podcast -- Stay Tuned With Preet. And now he’s written a book. It’s called: Doing Justice: A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment and the Rule of Law. Preet Bharara joins the Morning Shift ahead of his WBEZ event Thursday night.


Chicago Muslims Stunned By New Zealand Attacks

Muslim leaders are urging local mosques to step up security and vigilance after deadly attacks on two mosques in Christchurch.


Report Proposes Tackling Illinois Poverty Through Gender Pay Equality

A study finds that closing the gender wage gap in Illinois would provide a $20 billion boost to women’s earnings and the state’s economy.


Group Tackles Racially Equitable Development

A multi-partner group is learning what it will take to reverse historical disinvestment in some neighborhoods -- and gentrification in others.


Chicago Cubs And Muslim Civil Rights Group Agree To Anti-Bigotry Plan

The Cubs plan to fight Islamophobia includes having notable Muslims throw out the first pitch and sing during the seventh-inning stretch.

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