Stimulus money used to help Chicago homeless

July 16, 2009 4:42:16 PM PDT
Money from the federal government's stimulus package is allowing a group to help the homeless in the Humboldt Park neighborhood.The seven-year-old La Casa Norte is committed to providing a safe environment for homeless and abandoned people where they benefit from a comprehensive program of education, guidance and counseling in a community setting.

Since 2002, La Casa Norte's commitment has been to impact homelessness on all levels, to serve and advocate for at-risk and homeless individuals and families in the Humboldt Park community. La Casa Norte has grown from a staff of two to 29 full employees, providing clients with food, shelter, counseling, mentoring, education and clothing for those who are in need.

"Just this year through our intervention services, we've helped to place 115 families into stable housing. And that is private, affordable, market-rate housing throughout our local communities," said Sol Flores, La Casa Norte.

The crisis center is a non-residential program that provides sensitive case management, housing advocacy and homeless prevention services to youth and families.

Conor Glenn is a young man from Downers Grove who found help at the center and is now living in the Solid Ground Supportive Housing for males aged 16-21.

"Everything we need, there is food here, they give you everything you need," said Glenn.

Glenn was in a drug treatment program in Chicago and had no place to go when someone led him To La Casa Norte. He also received training and was helped to obtain employment.

"I encourage other people to look for the help, because it took one person to lead me the right way and for me to follow them to find out exactly where I want to be and where I am right now," said Glenn.

They may live there for up to two years or through their 21st birthday," Flores said.

The federal stimulus grant has helped La Casa Norte to secure jobs for youth.

"We have $262,000 to pay for and provide summer youth jobs for 130 low-income young people," said Flores.

La Casa Norte has also been funded with $460,000 to start a homeless youth engagement project. The goal of this project is to bring homeless youth off the streets and help them to find stable housing and the services they need. This is a collaborative project with several other youth serving agencies and is part of an effort by the City of Chicago to reach previous unreached youth.


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