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


Eerie Calm In Chicago, But Storm Never Arrived

Downtown Chicago emptied Friday in anticipation of a verdict in the Jason Van Dyke trial, but demonstrations were mostly peaceful.


‘Public Charge’ Proposal Sparks Fear

Advocates say they're seeing some immigrants turn in their LINK food assistance or Medicaid cards — out of fear.


Percentage Without Health Insurance Grows In Metro Chicago And Illinois

New census data also shows that the Chicago region is getting older and more diverse.


Chicago Raised Its Minimum Wage To Help Workers. Is It Working?

A new study concludes that the higher minimum wage has led to greater earnings and little job loss for some workers. But questions remain.


Trapped: The Elevator Problem In Chicago’s Public Housing

Unsafe elevators and failed oversight result in tenants living in fear of their own buildings, a WBEZ/BGA investigation finds.


Chicago’s System For Elevator Safety Is Failing At Public Housing

A citywide program to keep elevators safe is broken when it comes to the city's public housing, a WBEZ/BGA investigation reveals.

WBEZ Updates

Supporters Of Undocumented Army Veteran Claim Retaliation

Family and friends of an undocumented U.S. army veteran say detention and immigration officials are retaliating against him.

WBEZ Updates

Some Chicago Aldermen Say City ID Program Could Lead To Voter Fraud

Some Chicago aldermen are flagging a concern about the effects of the upcoming municipal ID program on elections.

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.

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