La Casa Norte: a Champion of Change Fighting Youth Homelessness


James helped with camera and lives at Solid Ground

Last year while visiting Chicago I met a young man who was 19 years-old at the time. Jermire had been homeless since the age of 13, but thanks to the support from La Casa Norte, Jermire was soon to graduate from high school. You can watch Jermire’s powerful story here.

I started this visit to La Casa Notre at their transitional housing program called Solid Ground. After a brief introduction with staff, they opened the door and allowed me to hang in the kitchen with all the young men. Little did I know, that later in the evening, I would also be allowed to freely hang out in their youth emergency shelter. Both experiences I will never forget.

If you’ve never spent time in a youth shelter it’s really not what you’d expect. The feeling is more like a very large extended family. If you didn’t know it was a homeless shelter you’d never know these kids are homeless.

While visiting with La Case Norte, Barbara Poppe,  Executive Director of the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, tweet to me that La Casa Norte was recognized by the White House for being a Champion of Change.

— Barbara J Poppe (@bjpoppe) September 13, 2013


I haven’t talk about it much, but on this road trip I have seen more homelessness than I have in years past. That said, I was happy to learn the City of Chicago is proactive in funding youth emergency shelters throughout the area.

In this video Shawn Melissa Decker, program coordinator for La Casa Norte’s Solid Ground program, talks about youth homelessness in Chicago, and more specifically the need for transitional programs.


Very special thanks to La Casa Norte

This Invisible People road trip is made possible by  Sevenly and Virgin Mobile USA, who are partnering to end youth homelessness through Virgin Mobile USA’s initiative, RE*Generation. For more information please click here.

  • PeaceProfit

    Yes*Indeed, Expansion of short term services is one of the most critical needs to address a programs ability to assist more people with the challenges they face.

    Which is why…. The project i*am developing will offer the opportunity for any program regardless of size or budget constraints to create added capacity (more beds) and shelter space at or near their facility with a similar cost per person served of the San Diego based “Dreams for Change” program model.

    This project will drastically reduce the strain on program budgets, increase their ability to serve more individuals and families, while doing so in a manner that provides structure and dignity to both those being assisted and especially important creating a visible view of progress and achievement within the communities which host these programs.

    Bringing the invisible into the hearts and minds of their community, by drawing a positive picture of how the situation can be changed.

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