• 2002

    Dreams of the past…that became a reality for the future…

    La Casa Norte was co-founded by Keith Decker and Peter McQueen who both have an extensive history of working with those living in poverty and experiencing homelessness.

    For several years, Keith and Peter volunteered at homeless shelters throughout the Chicago-land area. During this time, they both noticed a gap in services available to youth, particularly males ages 16-21.Drawing upon their volunteer experiences and their desire to help young men and women improve their lives and become self-sufficient, the concept of La Casa Norte was born.

    In an effort to make their vision become a reality, they identified founding Executive Director Sol Flores to lead the agency.   With the help of many supporters, La Casa Norte was established in 2002 as a non-profit organization.

    In 2002, the Crisis Center Program was established and opened its door with two employees, a bold mission, and hope for the future…

  • 2003 – 2004

    La Casa Norte begins a capital campaign to create one of Chicago’s first housing projects to serve males ages 16-21 who are experiencing homelessness.

    In 2003, State Senator Miguel Del Valle publicly pledged his support by distributing $150,000 in capital funding to La Casa Norte (LCN) for the Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program.

    Shortly after, LCN also received an award of $400,000 for capital and operating expenses from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    These initiatives paved the way for new funding relationships to develop and LCN began to see an influx of support from various foundations, churches, and individuals who believed in the mission of serving youth and families confronting homelessness.


  • 2005

    Construction of Solid Ground begins as LCN purchases a second building and relocates the Crisis Center Program to its current facility at 3533 W. North Avenue

    $1.4 million dollars in grant funding supports the construction of LCN’s Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program, providing a safe and nurturing environment for young male-identified youth experiencing homelessness in Chicago.

    During this time, LCN also participates in the first statewide survey of homeless youth in Illinois through a collaboration with the Youth Committee of the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless.

    Esperanza Trabajando, LCN’s third program, launches providing free career and educational assistance to ex-offenders, limited English speakers, and those without a high school diploma or GED. 

    LCN staff increases to 8 employees who offer comprehensive supportive services in Humboldt Park.

  • 2006

    Solid Ground opens its doors and LCN continues to gain recognition and support for its leadership and work within the community.

    The first residents move into LCN’s Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program where they have their own room, access to strong mentors, life skills training, and a safe environment in which to grow.

    Sol Flores, Executive Director, receives the inaugural Ruby Slipper Award for leadership and advocacy from Mayor Richard M. Daley on behalf of the City of Chicago’s Plan to End Homelessness.

    Through the support of a private, anonymous foundation gift, LCN pays off the full mortgage of its building located at 3533 W. North Avenue.


  • 2007

    La Casa Norte’s program builds momentum and serves thousands of people throughout Chicago

    During Solid Ground’s first year of service, the program provides 4,120 nights of residence to 30 male-identified youth ages 16-21.

    The Crisis Center serves 678 clients who were experiencing homelessness, providing housing assistance, life skills and other forms of support to lead them on a path to self-sufficiency and sustainability.


  • 2008

    La Casa Norte continues to grow and is awarded for its dedication to serving the community.

    There are now 28 full and part-time employees implementing a continuum of services to clients experiencing homelessness. At the same time, LCN wins the Fannie Mae Maxwell Award, one of four awarded nationwide for innovative and effective strategies to end homelessness.

    The Richard H. Drieahaus Award is also presented to LCN for architectural excellence in community design for the design of the Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program.

  • 2009

    New programming offers drop-in services and more housing opportunities

    Casa Corazon becomes the only drop in center for homeless youth serving Chicago’s west side and offers clients a safe space to engage with mentors, access resources to support them in reaching personal goals, and provide them with access to food, case management and mental health services.

    Additionally, LCN was selected as one of 5 key partners with the City of Chicago to implement the federal Homeless Prevention Rapid Re-housing Program.  This program provided youth and families with rental assistance, housing re-location services, and case management to promote their long-term stability.

    As a partner, La Casa Norte  prevented 118 households from becoming homeless and stabilized 214 others by relocating them to safe, sufficient units throughout Chicago.


  • 2010

    La Casa Norte receives a $1 million pledge and other support for various new programs

    In 2010, Denis and Martha Pierce committed to a $1 million dollar donation to help La Casa Norte build a new center that will offer permanent supportive housing, employment support, health care, and other services to meet the needs of the community.

    During this time, the Scattered Site Supportive Housing Program was also launched to serve youth and families experiencing homelessness or escaping domestic violence.  Clients in this program are placed into private market rate units throughout the city and are offered comprehensive services to support their overall stability.

    LCN establishes the Northwest Food Partners Network (NFPN); an alliance of agencies dedicated to building food security by offering educational resources and urban agricultural opportunities within the community.

    The Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program has now kept 86 youth off the streets since opening its doors and LCN is currently serving 1,800 households who were at-risk or experiencing homelessness.

  • 2011

    La Casa Norte continues to be recognized for its efforts and prepares for a major agency-wide expansion

    The Northwest Food Partners Network (NFPN) wins Network Partner of the Year by the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

    At this time, LCN also engages in the design and planning process for an upcoming $17 million dollar capital campaign that will support the cost of a new community center and housing initiative.

    The Solid Ground Supportive Housing Program receives the highest score in the Transitional Housing Evaluation conducted by the Chicago Alliance to End Homelessness.

  • 2012

    La Casa Norte celebrates its 10th year anniversary and receives honorable award at The White House

    On July 12, 2012, Co-Founder Keith Decker and Executive Director Sol Flores accept the White Houses’ Champions of Change Award on behalf of La Casa Norte for making a significant difference in the lives of youth confronting homelessness.

    That same day, Sol and Keith fly back to Chicago to attend and speak at LCN’s 10th Anniversary reception at the Humboldt Park Boathouse with over 100 staff, donors, board members, community leaders, and volunteers.

    Sol is appointed to the Low Income Housing Trust Fund Board by Mayor Rahm Emanuel and receives the LISC Chicago Neighborhood Development PrivateBank Norman Bobins Leadership Award.

    LCN concludes the year by receiving the prestigious Bank of America Neighborhood Builder Award.

    In 2012, Senator Dick Durban visited La Casa Norte to learn more about it’s programs and to wish the agency a Happy 10th Year Anniversary.  Click here to see what he had to say!

  • 2013

    La Casa Norte Expands its Youth Services


    Casa Corazon Program expands with Emergency Beds Shelters opening in Logan Square and Back of the Yards, providing 40 beds for youth. This program opened to all genders, ages 18-24 and continues to provide overnight shelter on a first-come, first-serve and night-by-night basis. Youth receive access to a warm meal, showers, laundry, and services from case management to life skills workshops.

    Casa Corazon South Drop-In Center opens in Back of the Yards to serve youth in the South Side community.

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La Casa Norte - 3533 W. North Avenue / Chicago, IL 60647 / Telephone - (773) 276 4900 / Fax - (773) 342 4253