Isaac Rubenstein is an AmeriCorps VISTA, working as the Community Education Coordinator with Joining Forces and Connections for the Homeless. Projects he’s working on involve establishing new Joining Forces chapters, helping North Suburban Cook County municipalities with their advocacy efforts, strengthening Joining Forces’ community partners, and many others.
Isaac is from what he refers to as “Skevanston” because he has lived in Skokie, but went to school, and now works, in Evanston. He went to Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, double majoring in history and political science with a minor in philosophy. During his senior year of college, Isaac interned for a legal aid program in Chicago that helped people who were facing eviction, which is what spurred his interest and experience in affordable housing. Since he knew several people who have faced various levels of housing insecurity, Isaac said that this role helped him gain a better understanding of how he could give back to the community he grew up in. Furthermore, this internship introduced him to affordable housing advocacy from a legal perspective.
In his current role, Isaac has been helping Joining Forces develop new chapters: a Northwest Suburbs chapter and a Northwestern University student chapter. These new Joining Forces chapters will expand our reach for affordable housing advocacy into the college campus, as well as suburbs like Arlington Heights, Palatine, Schaumburg, etc. He has also helped Skokie advocates develop a narrative using data that explains why affordable housing matters and the village’s need for affordable housing. Isaac’s work with Joining Forces’ community partners involves finding new potential organizations to partner with and re-activating established partnerships. Many of the organizations he reaches out to for partnerships are churches and other faith communities.
Aside from expanding Joining Forces and our reach, Isaac hopes that his role helps to challenge negative views of affordable housing by presenting data and real experiences, as well as publicizing the benefits of affordable housing. After serving his term, Isaac would like to use his scholarship that AmeriCorps awards to VISTAs when they complete their service towards attending law school, preferably in Illinois, because he wants to become a lawyer. Potentially, Isaac would like to practice law that involves the legal aspect of helping people with housing insecurity.