La Casa Norte provides stability for at-risk youth

August 24, 2013 (CHICAGO)

La Casa Norte operates shelters and drop-in centers and helps at-risk youth by providing stability.

Joseph Colon needed a place to stay a few years ago after his family kicked him out of the house.

He says both the shelter and center helped him turn his life around.

"It keeps you away from the streets it keeps you around positive people," he said. "I have not met any negative energy here."

Colon says La Casa Norte's outreach services helped him earn his GED.

He is one of the 20,000 people helped by the organization since it started in 2002.

And La Casa Norte continues to expand. On Monday, it opened another emergency shelter facility in Logan Square geared toward homeless young adults."

Sol Flores is the executive director of La Casa Norte and says without safe places to go at night the alternatives could be dangerous.

"Riding the CTA all night, walking around 24 hour stores, couch surfing, which means staying on a friends couch overnight or for four hours," he said.

Flores says La Casa Norte strives to provide whatever is needed for people who turn to the organization for help.

Like Jessica Chaidez, a single parent who is struggling to make ends meet.

"They provide me with bus cards to get back and forth from work, school and wherever I need to go, doctor's appointments," Chaidez said.

Chaidez joined in La Casa Norte's effort to get kids ready for school by bagging supplies that were donated.

The organization gives out supplies a few times a year.

"It's so important that when a child shows up on the first day, they feel like they belong, they're prepared physically and emotionally so that they can be the best students that they are," said Flores.

La Casa Norte helps at-risk people in 43 zip codes across the city.

For more information: La Casa Norte

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