About Richard Gonzalez
Born in Chicago, Illinois, and currently residing in Humboldt Park, Richard is the proud son of two working class parents who migrated to the mainland from Puerto Rico in search of opportunity and a better way of life.
As a young man, his parents stressed the importance of family, faith, hard work, and public service. They shaped Richard's perspective on life by opening his eyes to the world around him. His parents showed Richard that while Chicago has always been a place where one can climb the ladder of opportunity, it has also been an unforgiving place where working families have struggled to break from the shackles of poverty. Richard's parents worked their entire lives in order to make sure that their children could enjoy a better quality of life and they succeeded. Unfortunately, that kind of upward mobility is one that has become increasingly out of reach for many in our city.
After college, Richard found himself with an accounting degree and no clear vision for how to harness that knowledge in a way that could help build a better city. He then discovered his passion around the issue of affordable housing. Richard committed himself to addressing the issue of housing insecurity and segregation, two of the biggest drivers of poverty.
Richard began working for the Metropolitan Housing and Development Corporation (MHDC), a nonprofit affordable housing developer that won a landmark Supreme Court case (Metropolitan Housing Development Corporation v. Arlington Heights-1977) which found that certain zoning laws were determined to have a racial impact and thus violated the basic tenets of the Fair Housing Act. Today, Richard is proud to be the president of this incredible nonprofit and even prouder that they are continuing to lead on the important issue of affordable housing.
Building safer, more vibrant communities didn’t end with Richard's commitment to housing. He also became more interested in advancing the cause of justice in communities that have long suffered with violent crime. With the support of his family, Richard decided to pursue a career in law enforcement. Twenty-five years later, Richard is as committed as ever to keeping our neighborhoods safe and building a stronger sense of community.
Richard's entire life has centered around advocating for the needs of our most vulnerable residents and creating the conditions necessary for working class residents to flourish.