35 years ago, neighbors who believed that fair and affordable housing was worth fighting for organized in Humboldt Park and LUCHA has been championing housing needs for community residents ever since. Throughout the 1980s, LUCHA developed more than 100 units of affordable rental housingscattered across Humboldt Park and the surrounding neighborhoods on the Northwest side of Chicago. During the 1990s, after the Woodstock Institute issued a report on lenders discriminating against Latino and African-American mortgage seekers, LUCHA negotiated two mortgage programs directing $20 million towards Latino and African-American homebuyers. 10 years ago, when the housing market collapsed, LUCHA advocated for better lending practices to stop predatory lenders and mitigated foreclosure for over 140 households.
Today, LUCHA operates a Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center which serves more than 3,000 low-to-moderate income clients annually throughout the Midwest via workshops and individual counseling for potential homebuyers and households facing foreclosure. The LUCHA Law Project addresses the legal needs of clients who face fair housing infringements, particularly those who speak Spanish. In January, LUCHA expects to complete construction on the first three-flat of Tierra Linda, 45 scattered site units of affordable rental housing. Because housing is much more than bricks and mortar, Tierra Linda will be built to green standards and focus on residents’ health and wellness. LUCHA’s Health and Wellness Fellow coordinates regular programming for residents such as cooking classes, bike rides, trips to the farmer’s market, and gardening to connect them with the broader community and ensure that everyone thrives.
Since our humble beginning of one staff member and a $35,000 budget, LUCHA has developed into 37 staff members with an operating budget of $2.2 million and assets in the tens of millions. Throughout our 35 years, we have grown immensely. As innovators, our approach has transformed over time in response to the continually evolving landscape of challenges presented in our community. However, we remain steadfast in our commitment to advancing housing as a human right. LUCHA would not be where we are today apart from continued collaboration with our community partners and the investment of neighbors like you. Thank you for being a part of our story – we look forward to sharing the next 35 years with you as well!