Leadership

Jose M. Muñoz, Executive Director

In 2020, Jose M. Muñoz became the second ever Executive Director of La Casa Norte (LCN), a community-based organization whose mission is to serve youth and families confronting homelessness.

Since opening its doors, LCN has helped more than 30,000 homeless and at-risk individuals. By offering access to stable housing and delivering comprehensive services, LCN acts as a catalyst to transform lives and neighborhoods. Jose joins LCN with a breadth of experience and a passion to build, transform and propel our participants, staff and community into the future.

The son of Mexican immigrants and a Chicago native, raised in Chicago’s Back of the Yards neighborhood, currently lives with his family in the Gage Park community and works in Humboldt Park. Jose was the Vice-President of External Affairs at Casa Central leading sustainability and growth strategy, which includes developing strategic partnerships with government, corporate and other social service agencies across the state of Illinois. Additionally, in August of 2019 Jose was appointed by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and unanimously approved by Chicago’s City Council to serve as a Commissioner of the Chicago Park District. As Commissioner, Jose has fiduciary responsibility over the Park District’s $460 million budget and is responsible for governing and voting on all matters related to the Park District.

Previously, Jose served in the Illinois Governor’s Office as Chief Marketing Officer, where he led the statewide rollout of the health insurance marketplace’s public education campaign, served as Deputy Commissioner for the City of Chicago’s Department of Public Health (CDPH), led the national launch of New Futuro, and also devoted over 10 years of his career to advocating and developing programs for persons with disabilities.

Jose was the first in his family to attend post-secondary education and graduated Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from the Chicago State University’s College of Business.

Jose is a University of Chicago Civic Leadership Academy Fellow, a U.S. Mentor with the European Professional Fellows Network, a 2018 Aspen Institute Ideas Festival Scholar, and an experienced Design Thinking facilitator. Jose has been recognized as one of Negocios Now Who’s Who in Hispanic Business Chicago, been profiled by the University of Chicago for his violence prevention work, and has received several social impact awards including a Chicago Innovation Award, a Galaxy Award and Advertising Age’s Healthcare Marketing Impact Award.

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Shawn Decker, Director of Programs

Shawn Decker joined our team as our new Director of Programs in 2020. Shawn Decker is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who holds a Master’s in Social Work from Loyola University. She has over 20 years of social service experience in Chicago and Central America and is a former employee of La Casa Norte.

Shawn first joined La Casa Norte in April 2008 as the Curriculum Specialist, implementing a digital literacy and job readiness training series. She later focused on vocational counseling and matched participants to employment opportunities as the Placement Manager. In September 2010, Shawn became the Solid Ground Supportive Housing Case Manager. She partnered with youth to co-create service plans and provided clinical case management utilizing Positive Youth Development, Motivational Interviewing, and Trauma-Informed Care. In March of 2013, she transitioned into the role of Solid Ground Program Coordinator. As the Program Coordinator, she provided clinical supervision to staff and ensured oversight on the overall functioning and quality of program services. Shawn served the mission of La Casa Norte for eight years before leaving in 2016.

After leaving LCN, she participated in and graduated from a yearlong fellowship in Contextual Behavioral Therapy at the University of Chicago, where she also worked as a Field Consultant in the School of Social Service Administration.  Shawn has served in the capacities of Clinical Supervisor, Clinical Program Manager, and most recently as the Associate Director of Programs for Facing Forward to End Homelessness.

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Patricia Fuentes, Director of Operations

Patricia joined La Casa Norte’s Leadership Team in 2019 as Director of Operations. Patricia oversees the day to day operations of facilities, departments and building conditions. Ensuring quality standards, policies and procedures are compliant and enforced; supporting staff, programs and departments; while simultaneously driving the mission forward and upholding La Casa Norte’s Core Values.

Patricia has seven-plus years’ experience in the nonprofit sector. Serving across a variety of human care services; spanning healthcare, homelessness, housing, mental health, behavioral health and orphanages. Developing and implementing systems elevating programs resulting in meeting and exceeding the needs of vulnerable populations being served. Leading in numerous capacities including medical credentialing, organizational restructuring, crafting and implementing systems directly increasing revenue, facility management and driving teams of change.

Patricia has enjoyed volunteering since her childhood and as an adult, her family joins her in serving their surrounding communities. She stands on one of her favorite Nelson Mandela quotes: “It always seems impossible until it’s done” and so we get it done together!

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Larry McKay, Director of Finance

Larry joined La Casa Norte’s Leadership Team in 2018 as Director of Finance. Larry oversees the fiscal oversight of all programs and the organization as a whole. In conjunction with the Executive Director & other members of the leadership team, he assists in the day-to-day managing LCN’s overall fiscal health and position, which includes developing & implementing risk mitigation strategies, cash flow and position, and providing guidance and information to the Executive Director and Board Finance Committee.

Larry has 18 years of experience in the nonprofit sector. 14 years of experience in an accounting and finance capacity and 4 years in program capacity. Job duties include: End of month and end of year closings, financial statement preparation, and analysis, internal control monitoring, budgeting, audit preparation, ensure that financial activity is tracked, recorded, and reported according to GAAP and according to city, state and federal contract guidelines, A-133 audits, and stock portfolio management.

Larry has enjoyed volunteering as a coach for a middle school girls basketball team, he considers himself a Sci-fi nerd with his favorite movie being Avatar and TV show Lost in Space. He also enjoys listening to the complexity of music across all genres.

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