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2015 Top-Rated Nonprofit

La Casa Norte

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Employment Preparation & Procurement, Homeless & Housing, Homeless Centers, Homeless Shelters, Housing Support, Human Services, Job Training

Mission: The mission of La Casa Norte is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness. We provide access to stable housing and deliver comprehensive services that act as a catalyst to transform lives and communities.

Results: In our first 10 years, we have helped more than 20,000 homeless and at-risk individuals in more than 43 neighborhoods around Chicago.

Target demographics: serve youth and families experiencing homelessness

Geographic areas served: In Chicago

Programs: We provide housing and support services for at-risk and homeless youth and families. We provide scattered site permanent supportive housing for homeless youth and families. Clients live in private apartments located throughout the city. We offer many support services to accompany their needs. This includes life skills training, therapy, community building and the basic needs of food, clothing, and transportation. We also provide temporary housing for up to 16 homeless male youth at Solid Ground, Chicago’s first bilingual, male-intentional supportive housing program for homeless youth, ages 16-21. These youth have their own private room with shared common space, including a kitchen, dining room, community and workout room and computer lab. Solid Ground provides support services for life skill training, education, mentoring, employment services and therapy. Many of our youth and families need resources to accompany their transition from homelessness into housing with the goal of creating long-term stability. In addition to our services of life skills training, case management and therapy, we also provide the basic needs of food, clothing and transportation. We have an extensive network of collaborative human service organizations throughout the city, that we refer our clients to for services such as mental health, substance use treatment, medical healthcare, day care, legal and employment training. We offer homeless youth and families free bilingual and culturally sensitive case management, housing advocacy, and homeless prevention services. In addition, we provide community access to a computer lab, a clothing closet, food donations, phone and fax along with counseling and life-goal planning. Through the generosity of individual donors, La Casa Norte makes available gently used clothing for men, women and children of all ages. Casa Corazon is a homeless youth engagement program that works with youth who are experiencing homelessness and/or housing instability in Chicago. Casa Corazon offers outreach services coupled with a drop-in center and case management resources, to help move youth from the streets and into stable housing, employment and educational achievement.

Community Stories

57 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Chad Ryan S.

Donor

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte has always been at the forefront of creating a full ecology of care for folks experiencing housing instability. By centering human dignity, LCN accompanies individuals and families throughout the celebrations and challenges people experience as they build a better life for themselves and their communities.

Justin T.2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I love this organizations mission and the staff. Roberto was great helping me find something to volunteer for that was in line with my interests and goals. I now support this non-profit with monthly donations and look forward to continuing to volunteer here in the future.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is committed to serving the unstably housed and their staff clearly work tirelessly to serve others.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

On June 24, I had the opportunity to walk in the pride parade with La Casa Norte and Bank of America. It was a great experience passing out information regardless to homelessness prevention and give out other resources for those experiencing or in the risk of homeless. Besides all the attractions it was great opportunity to keep the public informed with all the type of resources out there they can benefit from. I will definitely do it again!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte works hard to provide resources for Chicago’s unstably housed population composed of dedicated and knowledgeable staff.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For several years now I have brought a group of college students to La Casa Norte to learn about the organization, the important work they do and the people they serve, as well as to engage in service. Each year students have chosen to perform ongoing service work, whether helping out at one of La Casa Norte’s sites or conducting a drive for donated goods on campus. It is always great to return; Roberto, the volunteer coordinator, is a positive, motivating presence. The city is lucky to have an organization like La Casa Norte that is expanding services at a time when state budget issues have forced other organizations to make cuts in a time of increasing need. The commitment and creativity of the staff is impressive. The difference they make in the lives of their clients is inspiring.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is an excellent organization and the time I spend volunteering there is truly rewarding. La Casa Norte does a lot of great work, from organizing year-round drives to bringing the community together by hosting block parties, it's been a pleasure being part of a great team. La Casa Norte tirelessly works on their mission "to serve youth and families confronting homelessness...".

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered in La Casa Norte earlier this year and was truly inspired and impressed by the great effort they put and the services they provide. The people that work there are very passionate for what they are doing with high energy and lovely spirits. They welcome all types of volunteers and make sure they're comfortable and they also provide help and shelter to all types of people in a high quality matter.
My experience there was enlightening and I hope they keep up the amazing work they do.

2

Former staff

Rating: 5

As a previous employee of LCN, I can say with authority that the work they do in the Chicago community is vital, much-needed, and executed with passion. Working alongside case managers and social workers who dedicated their lives to helping homeless youth and families was a true testament to the mission of LCN. Through their hard work and commitment to ending homelessness in Chicago, I saw numerous success stories of those who had found permanent housing, and a purpose for their lives with a new job and secure place for their family. Each year I stay in contact with LCN and give back because I know they are impacting so many lives, and will continue to do great work in the community.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a huge fan of La Casa Norte. I have been volunteering with them and donating for over 10 years now. I believe in their cause and their unstoppable commitment to help youth, families, people at risk of being homeless and anyone in need. This in an important organization that has not only made a difference to individuals, but to entire families and to the community. I realize that I can make a difference and help others who are less fortunate in so many ways. La Casa Norte can facilitate how each individual can make a difference. You can donate money, your time or even your extra clothing or coats for people in need.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am always amazed and inspired by the level of commitment staff has for La Casa Norte's mission and clients. I am proud to volunteer at La Casa Norte.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

LaCasa Norte is a wonderful organization that helps youth, and I have fun volunteering here. The workers and other volunteers are friendly, funny, and extraordinary people. LaCasa Norte is doing a great thing for runaway or homeless youths, and I would highly recommend volunteering here or donating.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte has always done incredible work. The organization is committed to help those in need. Reaching out to individuals and families and helping to place them where they need to be.

2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is an organization committed to breaking the cycle of homeless with a holistic, unique and inspiring approach. I've had the fortune to live just a block from this organization and see the tremendous impact their work has made on our neighborhood.

Adolfo H.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is an incredible institution committed to providing quality services to individuals and youth across the entire city. Every time I've met a young person or family that has been assisted by La Casa Norte, I'm overwhelmed with the generosity and care that staff provide. Wonderful place with committed leadership and staff at every level.

Donor

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is more than a great service agency. It captures and embodies the spirit and potential of each and every one of its clients. Its staff and leadership inspires its donors and volunteers with the knowledge that they are making a real difference. It is a privilege to know their work and passion.

Victoria58

Board Member

Rating: 5

LCN touches the lives of the most vulnerable in the Chicagoland area and provides services and programs to those confronting homelessness.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is an organization that is full of passionate, engaged people who are working together towards a common goal, ending homelessness in Chicago. When you step through their doors you feel their dedication and that they truly care about what they are doing. This is a great organization. They are doing great work and have big goals for the future. I can't wait to see them accomplish them.

Former staff

Rating: 5

Hardworking, dedicated, and compassionate staff. Provides services that are overlooked in many parts of Chicago.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I began volunteering at La Casa Norte in the Backyards neighborhood for a class on homelessness. The class was informative and insightful but my experiences at the shelter surpassed any learning in the classroom! The guests were welcoming as well as the staff! The staff are so friendly and easygoing! They truly create a professional yet family like environment. I was impressed how clean everything is kept and that each guest is provided a bed along with a storage bin to keep personal items safely inside. La Casa treats their guests and volunteers with respect and dignity and values people as individuals. I was will always cherish my time there and look back to volunteering again soon!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently joined La Casa Norte's Next Generation Board a few months ago after learning more about their mission to support at-risk youth and families in Chicago who are at risk or facing homelessness. The members of this organization are change-agents for good, and I have seen their commitment to this mission first hand. It is an exceptional organization to support and be a part of, and they are making a difference right here in Chicago every day.

Miguel3

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Next Generation Board for almost a year; after a few years of attending events and doing volunteer work. It's truly been an honor to be a part of such a dedicated, passionate organization that has produced voluminous results in fighting homelessness in Chicago. Hearing first hand accounts from the youths and families that have been helped by LCN is definitely inspiring and of course inspires me to do what I can to help others who are in the same, or similar type of position. LCN has accomplished so much in the twelve years that they've been open, and there is no end of further accomplishment in the present and foreseeable future.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with this organization for about a year. Their comittment to the community and passion for serving clients is amazing. The organization is also efficient and creative in the way it delivers its services.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined the Next Generation Board after listening to leaders from LCN speak about the organization's mission at a work event. Working with LCN has been a wonderful experience so far, and it feels great to work with such an incredible group of entrepreneurial, compassionate, and driven individuals to pursue the mission of fighting homelessness.

Kim_160

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I recently had the opportunity to help cook lunch for the residents of Solid Ground as part of a volunteer effort through my workplace. I found both the staff and residents to be friendly and helpful. The services that are provided by LCN and Solid Ground are extensive and very much appreciated by the residents and the community. The staff is highly personable and professional and I was glad that I was able to be a part of their resources, if only for one day.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I feel that La Casa Norte has found a uniquely profound way to give back to the Chicago-land community facing homelessness. For instance, its Solid Ground program aids those youth who have been displaced from their homes in a way that encourages the individuals through participation in their recovery and in their continued education instead of just providing a simple hand-out. Through commitment, coaching, encouragement, and participation, I have seen first-hand how LCN opens doors for individuals who simply need a chance to get a do-over in life. It's a small but powerful and forceful nonprofit that is very focused on its mission.

Pamela84

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I’m from Chile, and I lived in Chicago this year studying English for four months at Intrax. At school I applied to volunteer at La Casa Norte to be able to practice my English skills in an American office. What a surprise I had when I was there at LCN- I could do more than that! I didn´t just achieve my goal, and learn about planning and organization, but also about commitment. LCN staff endorses their goals, working hard to achieve them. They work with love for everyone, taking care of every detail. They are a great team, with a motivating leader, who is able to give them the vision and energy to reach each goal. I spent 12 hours a week working in the fundraising and development department. It was a great experience that included market research, developing a value proposition and visiting the potential sponsors for the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. I wanted something to grow professionally, but this experience gave me the opportunity to grow beyond what I could expect

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been in touch with LCN over the last few years and I believe it more than exceeds my expectations. The level of service to a under served population in Humboldt Park is absolutely amazing. Originally, I became acquainted with LCN just to gain information, but soon became a member of the board when I realized the immense amount of amazing work they do for the community!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have recently started working with LCN and I also attended the annual fundraising event. I have found that the people at LCN really make the organization what it is. I have witnessed a level of investment and generosity of time that is not always apparent when you are dealing with the need to give time to others. In addition there is a variety of ways to contribute and appreciation is always expressed no matter what you do. I think the long range vision of the organization is ambitious but grounded and the efforts to impact the city of Chicago that LCN is making are very admirable.

Maria106

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered for LCN once a week @ their drop-in center and I can honestly say it was the best, most inclusive, and welcoming space I have ever had the honor of working in. The staff is beyond kind and friendly to volunteers and you can tell they care about/take their jobs very seriously. The mission here is so important and the staff of this agency works incredibly hard to make sure that needs of their youth are being met. I was more than happy to volunteer for La Casa Norte and hope others will follow suit.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I was a volunteer at La Casa Norte last year and I was blown away at all the different things they do to help people who are facing homelessness. Many organizations just set up housing, or just pass out food, but La Casa Norte does it all. They have housing for teens, a free clothing closet that is full of nice clothes that range in use, and many other services that act as catalysts to help those in need. I stand for everything La Casa Norte does, and really do believe they are one of the greatest organizations in the greater Chicago area.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I work as a Student Advisor for Intrax, which is an English school located in downtown Chicago. During the past year, I established a partnership with La Casa Norte for our Career Preparation Activity, where students have the opportunity to help local businesses as volunteer workers. LCN has been an excellent host company, exposing our students to the inner-workings of a local non-profit and helping them improve their English and develop professional skills. It has been a pleasure working with SommerAnn and Jessica, and we really appreciate the rewarding experiences our students have had with them. Through this partnership, we have also been able to participate in various charity events, such as Christmas gift wrapping last year and this year's Hunger Walk. We are excited to continue working with La Casa Norte, and we value the work they do!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Service Learning Coordinator at a local Chicago high school, I cannot say enough positive things about the mission and staff of La Casa Norte. Our students have helped sort items in the clothing closet, we painted one of LCN's facilities, and prepared a meal for the young adults LCN's provides a home to. LCN, however, continues to go above and beyond in not only providing volunteer opportunities for our students, but educating them on the plight of homelessness in Chicago and empowering students with hope in what work is being done (and what work they themselves can do) to make a positive difference. I had a student volunteer at La Casa Norte and reflect, "I didn't realize there were so many children in Chicago living without food. I want to learn more about why this is happening," while another student shared, "My family has almost been homeless. I'm glad I could come and help, even if in a small way." LCN's supportive and hard working staff has really opened the eyes of our students and welcome them to take an active role in the LCN mission. We are truly blessed to have LCN as a model partner in our Service Learning program.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Junjia Xi (Jenny) I have worked as a volunteer in La Casa Norte for more than two months. Working in La Casa Norte is a really great experience for me. I am excited to work here to help those homeless youth especially one day I helped with doing the photo shot. I can feel the happiness from those homeless youths when they saw the pictures i took for them. Also, people in this organization are nice to me and I learned a lot from the volunteer experience.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I am impressed with their youth work and organizational leadership. Their cause is important and worthy of ongoing support.

Board Member

Rating: 5

As someone who experienced homeless as a youth, I truly understand that importance of La Casa Norte work with Latino youth in Chicago in helping them to find and secure a permanent home. But more importantly, is that they teach and give the youth the skills and resources they need so that they won't find themselves homeless again. There are many orgainzations that help youth but there are few that really empower them to learn how to be successful on their own. La Casa Norte is one of those few organizations.

Donor

Rating: 5

The hallmarks of a truly successful nonprofit organization are a committed, talented and thoughtful staff and board of directors. La Casa Norte is led by professionals who have both incredible passion AND expertise, most of which is grounded in the concerns and needs of the communities the agency serves. La Casa Norte's leaders are visionary, dedicated and continually learning and improving the organization and its services. This is an outstanding organization that uses its funding to its fullest potential. We are truly fortunate to have them in Chicago.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte does remarkable things within the community and they truly are dedicated to making a difference. The people who work there are so passionate and I've often see them go above and beyond to make a difference in the life of a client or someone they serve. I truly believe they are remarkable.

Noah J.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is doing an amazing job providing essential services. No young person (or anyone for that matter) should have to go without a home.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Casa Norte is an exceptional organization that restores the lives of families and individuals that are in need of housing .
As a director of a behavioral health organization dealing with individuals affected by addiction, the services of Casa Norte are great complement to our programs . We work in collaborations with one goal, to improve the conditions of individuals and families that are in need of our services. The Staff of Casa Norte are competent and committed and willing to go to the extra mile to serve our families .

Board Member

Rating: 5

I learned about La Casa Norte from the dynamic executive director and other board members who are truly dedicated to this organization. It is an extraordinary anchor in Chicago's west side neighborhood and is providing critical services to those most in need of them. The organization deserves our time and resources for the impact it is having on hundreds of lives!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As the Executive Director of StreetWise, and the former head of homeless services under Mayor Daley, I have reason to work with many non-profits serving adults and youth in crisis. La Casa Norte consistently provides effective, high quality service to Chicagoans in need. The staff are responsive to partner agencies and clients alike. La Casa Norte administrators run the agency with strong fiscal discipline and a clear strategic vision. I have referred many individuals to La Casa Norte over the years, and I have never doubted that each of them received the best social services available in a caring environment. – James V. LoBianco (Executive Director, StreetWise)

Christy11

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

It's always a pleasure to work with La Casa Norte. The wisdom of energy of their staff and leadership is inspiring! Their mission to help overcome homelessness in the city of Chicago is not only admirable; it's innovative. Combining job training, recreational activities, and even gardening brings a holistic approach to the challenges they face. The youth they serve are enriched for this service mix, and they have far greater potential to cultivate stability in their lives and seek out needed resources in the community. Can't say enough good things about ED Sol Flores and her team!

Marisol2

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

We send a ton of service learning students to La Casa Norte to do community service as part of their academic course work and they always have a wonderful learning experience provided to them by the staff and clients of the organization. They are one of our top community partners.

Liz_20

Board Member

Rating: 5

What has impressed me as a Board Member of La Casa Norte is the extent to which the people and the organization will extend itself to make a difference. Instead of just trying to work within the system, LCN employees actively try to help change the system to better serve their clients. They have a deep respect for those they serve, and reach out to those in need with full hearts.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I don't have direct experience with LCN, but I have a number of good friends who have volunteered here. All of them have been just over the moon about their experiences--they love the people who work there, they think the mission is wonderful, and they feel like La Casa Norte actually gets things done. That combination is hard to come by.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at La Casa Norte during a winter coat drive. I had the opportunity to meet and talk with members of the community who came in because they needed winter coats. La Casa Norte was filling a very real need and it was amazing to work with their staff while spending time with the community.

Farah F.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I helped to give out winter coats to people they needed them. Even though I just volunteered for like 3 hours did it seem that it helped a lot. Also was it awesome to see how happy we made some people, especially kids!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at La Casa Norte as part of project for my Master's program at DePaul. I spent a day at Solid Ground, LCN's male-intentional transitional housing facility for youth ages 16 to 21, and I could not have had a better experience. The residents, staff members, and I made lunch together, played games, and had a wide breadth of conversations, discussing everything from superheroes and movies to bullying, conflict resolution, drug use, and higher education. Besides having an excellent facility, it was clear to me that the staff and interns are committed to providing an educational experience for all residents and, most of all, promoting their autonomy and putting them on a path to independence. I was also blown away by the residents at Solid Ground, who were warm, welcoming, creative, and intellectually curious. I can't wait to spend more time at La Casa Norte.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered at La Casa Norte this past summer through a social service internship. Though I was expecting to learn from and enjoy my time at LCN, I was not prepared for it to be such a life-changing experience. LCN is truly the definition of an effective non-profit. On my first day at LCN, Sol Flores, the organization's Executive Director, told me never to worry about interrupting any staff member if it was to serve a client, because service to the clients was the reason for LCN's existence and the most important goal each day. As a new intern, this was extremely empowering and is also exemplary of the passion, dedication, humbleness, and ethos of service that pervades the organization. The staff of LCN believe strongly in their mission and strive to best serve each client that walks through their doors each day. As an intern, I carried out a project where I interviewed long-term clients of LCN, and each client that I spoke with identified LCN as a major factor in assisting them and helping them to get on their feet. I personally witnessed this each day as I saw caseworkers, therapists, and Sol form strong connections with clients and go above and beyond to serve them. Though LCN is doing an amazing service for the community, the organization is not content to remain where it is, but constantly strives to do even more. Within a few years, LCN will consolidate its services in one, first-of-its-kind center, and will be able to better assist clients with a true wrap-around model. LCN is an amazing place with a clear mission. Each staff member strives to serve the clients and continue to improve their services. La Casa Norte is, to me, the definition of an effective non-profit, and I will always be grateful for the time that I spent at such an inspiring organization.

Mary143

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 4

i live in the community and also work as a professional in the field and so see this organization from a few vantage points. Number one, they provide excellent service to youth in the community. Their Programs offer emergency support and from there engage youth in positive Programs that go way beyond the crisis that often brings them into the organization. At a time when youth are starving for positive opportunities, LaCasa Norte is that positive influence. I love that the organization is vibrant young leadership as well. They stand above the best. There is also a very strong vision for their future and the well being of this community.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

As an Executive Director for another nonprofit organization in Chicago, I can speak both professionally and personally to the excellence of Casa Norte. These are very difficult times in the nonprofit arena particularly in Illinois with one of the largest state deficits across the country and continuous cuts to human services and at-risk populations such as the population served by Casa Norte. However, Casa Norte has not only continued to survive but thrive in a difficult economic climate. This growth also comes without sacrificing the individual attention, dedication, and professionalism that allows this organization to treat every individual that comes through their door with dignity and respect. On a personal level, my peer and colleague Sol Flores is one of the most energetic and visionary Executive Directors I have ever met. And this leadership is a major factor in the success and expansion of this organization. It is a privilege to share a mission of service with Casa Norte.

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte is a vital nonprofit servicing an a community that is often overlooked and starved for resources. The work done to help men and homeless youth in and around Chicago brought light to the needs of a niche group I as a member of the community do not give much thought to. One assumes youth have many resources made available to them by the state or federal government. But what happens if a person is in their early 20s and needs help? La Casa Norte not only works to provide education and resources, the end goal is to help each participant attain the skills they need to procure resources for themselves and live productive, independent lives. I am proud to know such an organization is working tirelessly in Chicago and to know the reach of their work extends beyond our neighborhoods.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been on the Board of La Casa Norte (LCN) for now almost two years but have known about their work since the beginning, ten years ago. What most amazes me about LCN work is how much they/us try to bring the mission to life! Whether at a Board meeting, fundraising event or working with staff or other volunteers on different projects, you always get this sense that its more than just about solving individual problems. It's about a greater purpose and the need to change how we as society understand, think and feel about homelessness in this country. I know, when I hear about what is being done and the impact it has not just on the families or individuals but on the systems then I feel a great sense hope for the future. Finally, when I talk with my friends and colleagues about LCN, I have sense of confidence and pride. Because I know the approach or strategies LCN uses are bringing about real change as they serve those families and individuals who are homeless and are hoping for a better future.

Ted G.

Donor

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte's history and growth over the last ten years speaks for itself. The organization has grown and matured under Sol Flore's leadership and an always supportive and hard-working board. The most gratifying thing about working with them is that every ounce of effort and passion goes into helping the clients who are served.

Judith16

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have served on the Board of Directors of La Casa Norte for five years. I am so impressed with the management team, the leadership, vision, compassion, and truly wonderful people who work here.They are effectively working to combat homelessness. The programs they have developed are effective and appreciated by recipients who trust the staff. I have had several opportuniites to talk with clients of La Casa Norte. Each has described the life changing transitions that have occurred because of help they received from staff at La Casa Norte. I have watched Sol Flores, the Executive Director take the vision for a vibrant organization and make it become a reality. For the past ten years she has selected and prepared staff whose energy is focused on preventing the trauma of homelessness. I am in awe of this organization and the accomplishments that have occurred. We have a very committed Board of Directors. I cannot think of a better organization!

Wendy38

Donor

Rating: 5

La Casa Norte does truly incredible work and fills a void by providing services to youth and their families. The organization is extraordinarily well run and efficient with their dollars.