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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

WBEZ Updates

Before State Of The Union, Advocates Give Reminder Of How Immigration System Works

Ahead of tonight’s State of the Union address, immigrant advocates in Chicago are trying to make sure the public understands how the immigration system really works.


Activists: Gang Database Disproportionately Targets Young Men Of Color

Latino and immigrant groups in Chicago say that the electronic gang database is inaccurate, that there is no way for people to remove their names.

WBEZ Updates

Immigrant Advocates Decry Shutdown Deal

Immigrant advocates say they fear their cause is now more vulnerable, thanks to a federal funding deal in Washington.


2 Dreamers Discuss Helping Other Immigrants Amid Uncertainty

Here are the stories of two Dreamers in Chicago who help immigrants even as they face losing their own status.


Young Activists Of Color Say Chicago Police Reform Efforts Fall Short

A year after the DOJ said Chicago police victimize young people of color, activists have joined to push their own solutions.

WBEZ Updates

Carson Avoids Housing Advocates, Media In Chicago

The U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development was in Chicago yesterday, but few got to see him.

WBEZ Updates

Homeless Couple Sues City Over Tent Seizures

A homeless couple is suing the city for repeatedly throwing away their tents and other belongings.

WBEZ Updates

Illinois Health Exchange Delivers A Sting

As some Illinois residents scramble to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act during the final days of open enrollment, they’re getting major sticker shock.

WBEZ Updates

CPD Admits No Basis For Labeling Man A Gang Member

The Chicago Police Department is admitting that it cannot verify that a man it included in its so-called gang database is a gang member.

WBEZ Updates

Durbin Sees DREAM Act Passing Before 2018

Illinois Democratic leaders in Washington are pushing hard to pass legislation to support so-called DREAMers before the end of the year.


Uptown Homeless Shelter Looks Back At Year That Almost Wasn’t

The men’s homeless shelter briefly closed last year, but a last-minute donation kept it open and inspired optimism.

WBEZ Updates

Immigration Advocates React To News That Gutierrez Won't Seek Re-Election

Immigration reform advocates in Chicago say they’ll be losing a lion for their cause when Illinois Congressman Luis Gutierrez steps down at the end of his term.

WBEZ Updates

Woman Files Lawsuit In Church Sanctuary Case

A woman who has taken sanctuary in a West Side church has been told to deport herself back to Mexico by the end of this week.

WBEZ Updates

African-American Workers Coalition Says City Ignores Racist Labor Practices In TIF Areas

A coalition of immigrant and African-American workers on Chicago’s West Side say the city ignores racist labor practices in areas that benefit from TIF funds.

WBEZ Updates

Undocumented Man Suing Chicago Over Falsely Labeling Him As Gang Member May Settle

An undocumented man who’s suing Chicago over its use of the gang database may soon reach a settlement with the city.

WBEZ Updates

Alderman Finds No Problem With Chicago Policy To Toss Homeless Tents

One North Side alderman has no sympathy for homeless people whose tents are confiscated and thrown out by the city.

WBEZ Updates

City Colleges Head Says Illinois Should Copy Star Program

The head of City Colleges of Chicago is floating an idea to make community colleges more accessible statewide.

WBEZ Updates

ICE Solicits Ideas To Expand Detention Capacity In Chicago

Immigrations and Customs Enforcement is looking to drastically expand its detention capacity for undocumented immigrants in the Chicago area.

WBEZ Updates

Deportation Pressures Limit Immigrant Options, Attorneys Say

Immigration attorneys in Chicago say it’s getting harder than ever to help their clients become legal.


Where Can Homeless People Pitch Tents In Chicago?

Chicago’s rules on if homeless people can live in tents — and where — are confusing and inconsistently applied.

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