Former 26th Ward Alderman Billy Ocasio has been named Chairman of the Norwegian American Hospital Board of Trustees for the fiscal year of 2013. He brings with him a passion for the Humboldt Park community and a wealth of knowledge of the City of Chicago and State of Illinois. “As someone who was born at Norwegian American Hospital, this is truly an honor,” Chairman Billy Ocasio said. “While many changes have taken place in the last few decades, Norwegian American Hospital has remained a vital part of this community, with hundreds of residents employed by the hospital. Given the health disparities we have seen in the last few years, Norwegian American Hospital’s role is needed now, more than ever. I am committed to overseeing Norwegian American Hospital’s mission and how it is accomplished.” Ocasio is a lifelong resident of Humboldt Park, born to Antonio, a pipeline factory worker for over 40 years, and Gladys, a lunch lady for the Chicago Public School system. Ocasio attended Von Humboldt Elementary School and graduated from Roberto Clemente High School.
After graduation, Billy attended the University of Illinois at Urbana and received a bachelor’s degree from Northeastern University. He began his career in public service working at various nonprofit, community-based agencies in the fields of education, affordable housing, youth programs and economic development. In January 1993, he was appointed 26th Ward Alderman by Mayor Richard M. Daley to complete the unexpired term of Luis V. Gutierrez, who was elected to Congress that previous fall. During his standout tenure as 26th Ward Alderman, Ocasio was responsible for sizably increasing affordable housing and bringing “Little Wrigley Field” to Humboldt Park. Of his many accomplishments in education, Ocasio is proudest of the construction of Ames Middle School, at the time the first new middle school built in the city in over 30 years. The Ames School construction relieved overcrowding at four surrounding grammar schools. Ocasio became Senior Advisor to Governor Pat Quinn in 2009 and currently serves as the Director of Community Affairs for the Illinois Housing Development Authority and oversees foreclosure prevention activities on a program and community level through the newly created Illinois Foreclosure Prevention Network.