Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish
More than 15% of Americans are without a safe, affordable home. Nearly 20 million households in our nation is severely burdened by housing cost, spending over 50% of their income to have a place to live. Even among those who can afford basic rent, millions of families in America are exposed to sub-standard living conditions and health risks in their homes.
Claretian Associates has developed more than 130 affordable apartments and homes in a 12 block area in South Chicago since 1991, restoring more than 75 vacant lots to productive use. In addition to providing a range of services from weatherization programs to utility assistance to affordable and safe homes for over 3,000 families a year, Claretian Associates also supports leadership in the community and helps residents connect to schools, jobs, financial literacy workshops, home buyer education, tax preparation services, energy programs, and arts programs.
Claretian Associates converts vacant lots and run-down buildings into new multi-family apartments, single-family homes, and open green space. The new homes showcase energy efficiency in a community traditionally known for environmental problems. Along with building green homes, the program also brings together thousands of neighborhood residents at their yearly Green Summit to build awareness about environmental problems and solutions for the community.
Along with first-rate housing choices, Claretian Associates offers a variety of social services for low-income families. They aim to unite local and city-wide partners to confront issues such as housing, unemployment, arts, and education, as well as creating spaces for community youth to travel to school safely. Additionally, they offer sports programs, gardening, and nutrition programs.
Claretian Associates also offers the possibility to build a savings plan through free financial literacy classes and tax services. The bilingual financial literacy program works with low-income individuals and families to teach them about financial matters so that they can make good decisions and have the power to make lasting changes in their lives. Through a series of outreach events, workshops, and information fairs, the program reaches hundreds of local residents annually.
The South Chicago neighborhood is located about 15 miles south of the city’s Loop near the Illinois-Indiana border. Twenty-eight percent of residents are living below the poverty line, and 33% receive supplemental nutrition benefits to keep their families fed. Programs like Claretian Associates give local families the help they need to thrive.