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Claire Billingsley’s Quest to End Homelessness

A recent article in CSU’s Viking Pride alumni newsletter shares the story of Claire Billingsley, a 2021 graduate of Levin’s Master of Science in Urban Studies program and recipient of Levin’s Howard I. Bruce Award, an award presented annually to a student who most closely epitomizes the qualities of excellence, industriousness, and personal integrity that characterized Howard I. Bruce.

According to the article, Claire grew up witnessing housing instability, and her early experiences would shape her life's work to combat housing inequity and end homelessness. She decided to enroll at Levin while she was working at Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry’s men’s shelter. “Creating and defending the right of home, that’s what I’m here for,” Claire shared. She says she wanted to learn the mechanisms at play behind housing inequity. What she left with three years later was deep insight and the ability to “effectively communicate its causes and impacts, and more importantly, effect tangible change.” Personal agency and choice play their part in homelessness, Claire says, but the chief culprit driving thousands of city residents to the streets, she learned, is affordable housing.

She has since moved on from the Lutheran Metropolitan Ministry and now focuses on grant writing and funder outreach at CHN Housing Partners, a nonprofit affordable housing developer and housing service provider. But for Claire, it is not enough to provide a pathway to securing housing for families. She thinks those houses should become homes, and she uses another one of her passions — interior design — as a board member for Humble Design, a nonprofit new to the Cleveland area, in order to enhance the new living spaces of families leaving homelessness.

Learn More about Claire's Story »