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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.

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

18 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.