Margaret Neil is a resident of the Joann Dorsey Homes, run by the Champaign County Housing Authority, where she directs the residents council. She is also a current housing commissioner. A Center at the Dorsey Homes has been named in her honor. Neil was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in 1978. The disease limits the use of her limbs and she uses a wheelchair for mobility. Despite her physical limitations, Margaret’s goal is to be as independent as possible. Margaret views her disability as “a blessing” and says it created an opportunity for her to “do something right in life”. Margaret is an energetic and dynamic force in her community. She is well‐known in Champaign and across the country as a public housing organizer. She has successfully received grants for low income housing programs and has created job clubs and other programs to help residents develop skills and connect with resources to become self‐supporting.
Margaret was featured in Difference Makers 2010: An eBlack Champaign-Urbana Publication.