Project Jumpstart Client receives home makeover via Humble Design

Connect - Client Home Makeover 1

This month, LUCHA partnered with Humble Design Chicago, a non-profit organization that helps families transition to stable housing by providing furnishing and design services that transform simple living spaces into welcoming homes.
LUCHA Supportive Services Counselor Emma Epstein, whose role includes providing counseling and rental assistance to those affected by domestic and sexual violence, helped a client transition from an unstable living situation into a new apartment.  Advocating for the promise of her client’s future in a stable home, Epstein connected her to Humble Design to help furnish and decorate the new space. Prior to the home makeover process, the space was nearly vacant, and the client was spending nights with her daughter on a mattress on the floor.
On the day of the home makeover, the client returned for the reveal of her transformed apartment and expressed tears of joy, exclaiming that she could not wait to host her family for a true housewarming gathering. Through LUCHA’s collaboration with Humble Design, the space is now a vibrant, beautiful home, featuring a king-sized bed for mom, a pink princess room for her daughter, a dining table for meals together, and even a betta fish, as per the daughter’s request.
LUCHA is honored to witness and participate in every client’s journey. Many congratulations to this family on their new home!
Humble Design provides gently-used items and furniture to transform vacant spaces into home spaces. For more information about Humble Design, visit their website.

LUCHA Celebrates 1st Move-In’s at Tierra Linda

Build - Key in Hands
After months of construction, LUCHA is excited to formally announce the completion of Tierra Linda’s first site and welcome its first tenants!  Tierra Linda is a sustainability-oriented affordable development, bridging affordable housing with green technology.
With staff on hand to welcome three families into their new apartments, the March move-in day was special for several reasons: it celebrated the increase of healthy, affordable housing stock on the Northwest side, and was the kickoff to welcoming the first of over 40 families who will come to know Tierra Linda as “home.” After a lease-singing at LUCHA’s main office, each family made their way over to the site, where all were greeted by Tierra Linda’s bright yellow doors and dazzling new interiors.
The move-in was particularly special for LUCHA’s Director of Affordable Housing, Charlene Andreas, who has been with the organization since 2010. Having joined the staff while LUCHA’s Borinquen Bella rehabilitation was underway, Andreas had yet to oversee the entire process of building development, including consultations, land acquisitions, and project development. “I’ve seen this project from Day 1 until now, leasing up tenants and move-ins, and I’ve been reflecting on all the hard work we did to get the support and funding for Tierra Linda.”
Senior Property Manager Aviance Dorsey noted that the goal now shifts from leasing and move-ins to ensuring that tenants thrive in their new homes. Andreas added that she wants to see tenants “become an integral part of these communities and involved with LUCHA’s gardens and Health & Wellness initiatives.”
For more pictures from move-in day, check out our photo album.

Housing Counseling Updates: March 2018

Educate - Leticia Vargas

LUCHA Welcomes New Housing Counselor

LUCHA is excited to welcome Leticia Vargas, Housing Counselor as the newest member of our staff. Vargas joins the staff at LUCHA’s Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center and will assist clients achieve financial sustainability and purchase their first homes by providing high-quality education and financial counseling.

Prior to starting at LUCHA, Vargas was with Enlace Chicago, where she mostly at Farragut Career Academy in administration to assist students as they transition from high school to their professional careers.

“I’m in the training stage right now, and will be for the next few months, but I’m excited to get started and work on client portfolios,” remarked Vargas.

Educate - Wintrust Mortgage

Wintrust – 2017 Partner of the Year

LUCHA would like to acknowledge Wintrust Mortgage as our 2017 Lender of the Year. Wintrust Mortgage served LUCHA’s clients in 2017 by providing $3.1 million in loan origination and $241,000 in down payment assistant to first-time homebuyers. Without lenders like Wintrust who make homeownership a reality for low-to-moderate income households, our housing counseling services couldn’t meet the needs of our clients.


Fighting Climate Change through Affordable Housing

 Advocate - Yale Climate Connections
Executive Director Juan Carlos Linares recently spoke about LUCHA’s latest affordable housing development Tierra Linda with Yale Climate Connections, a nonpartisan, multimedia service that offers programming focused on issues of climate change.
When a sleek, eco-friendly housing development pops up in an urban neighborhood, the natural inclination is to assume that the cost of living of those units would price out most other residents on the block. Linares shared that though Tierra Linda’s rental units are in fact new and eco-friendly, they won’t displace residents – they intend to do the opposite. Tierra Linda is innovative in that its goal is to offset the effects of gentrification (e.g. displacement) with the presence of affordable, energy-efficient homes, proving that these types of units are not an exclusive privilege for the wealthy. As such, these developments are a testament to the fact that everyone deserves a decent, healthy living space.
“We’re hoping that tenants save over $1,100 in annual utility savings, and that’s more than a month’s rent for any one of these units,” said Linares in reference to the Passive House, one of the twelve multi-family buildings that comprise Tierra Linda. Listen to the entire program.
For more on Tierra Linda and its impact along the 606 Trail, click here.

Housing Justice


In 2017, LUCHA convened like-minded community organizations to draft the Pilot Act for the Preservation of Affordable Housing, also known as the 606 Residential Area Preservation Ordinance, in order to stabilize the rapidly gentrifying Humboldt Park and Logan Square neighborhoods and keep long-term homeowners and renters in their homes. The Ordinance imposes higher demolition and development fees on developers who want to raze multifamily housing in favor of new construction single-family luxury homes along the 606 Trail’s western edge.

Since construction began on the trail in 2013, property values in adjacent residential neighborhoods increased by 48.2%. The Trail’s opening in 2015 further accelerated increases in rents and property values which has depleted affordable housing stock and replaced it with high end luxury units, resulting in an exodus of long-term low- to moderate-income households. Presently, the Ordinance is still in committee. Join us in supporting our community partner, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, as they door knock throughout the neighborhood and host a Teach-in and Rally for Housing Justice to move this Ordinance forward.

LUCHA collaborates with Freddie Mac; integrates Earn Up tool into Housing Counseling

In collaboration with Freddie Mac, LUCHA integrated the Earn Up platform into our individualized housing counseling to help clients effectively manage their debt. By allowing people to manage all of their loans in one place, including mortgages; student, personal, and auto loans; and credit cards; Earn Up helps participants improve their overall financial health.
Interested in learning more about Earn Up or other financial tools? Contact our Freddie Mac Borrower Help Center at or 773-489-8484.
LUCHA is Growing!
We are looking for a passionate, experienced Housing Counselor to join our team – please spread the word!

LUCHA is Growing!



Join LUCHA in welcoming the newest member of our team, Eduardo Sanchez! Eduardo brings expertise in maintenance, construction, and welding. In addition to ongoing maintenance on each of LUCHA’s 153 affordable housing units, the maintenance team performs repairs to the homes of seniors in our community.

Sponsored by the City of Chicago, the Small Accessible Repairs for Seniors (SARFS) program helps seniors remain independent and age in their homes through simple home improvements. Our dedicated maintenance team installs handrails, modifies bathrooms, repairs floors and widens doorways to make homes safe and accessible in order to accommodate the mobility needs of aging residents. In 2017, LUCHA completed 30 community home repairs at no cost to seniors. Eduardo’s efforts will increase LUCHA’s capacity to carry out home repairs for seniors in the neighborhood, as well as maintain the 45 units of Tierra Linda upon completion.

Additionally, LUCHA is also hiring a Home Repair and Weatherization Manager to help local homeowners plan and carry out repairs which will save energy costs and enhance accessibility – spread the word!

Drowning in debt? Need to fix your credit? Want to start saving?


Contact Alan Goldberg at (773) 276-5338 ext. 223 or today to schedule a private consultation. Through Project Reinvest: Financial Capability (PRFC), LUCHA provides financial capability counseling and coaching to help participants stabilize their finances, rebuild credit, and establish savings. This program is available to individuals seeking financial capability services, regardless of their housing status. Each participant will have a dedicated, professional team supporting them as they strive to meet their personalized goals. Project Reinvest: Financial Capability is made possible by funding from NeighborWorksAmerica.

2 New Partnerships to greatly enhance LUCHA’s Home Repairs

LUCHA is excited to highlight two partnerships that will enhance our Home Repair work
 which furthers neighborhood stability by helping families live safely and continue to thrive in their homes. Last June, Associated Bank, a long-standing partner, made an initial investment of $250,000 to fund accessibility repairs to seniors’ homes, repairs on foreclosed homes to maintain the stock of affordable housing in our community, and post-purchase counseling services which empower homeowners to remain in their homes. This month, Associated Bank has contributed an additional $100,000 toward these same ends.
LUCHA is also excited to announce a new partnership with The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation, Inc., one of the largest private charitable foundations in the United States, whose sole purpose is to assist low-income and vulnerable individuals and families through nonprofit grants to direct-service providers. The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation also invested $100,000 to support LUCHA’s home repairs and weatherization services for low-income and vulnerable older adults so they may age in their communities with independence and dignity.
We are grateful for these partnerships which advance housing as a human right by allowing LUCHA to continue providing comprehensive housing services to seniors throughout Chicago so they may age in place and continue contributing to thriving communities.

Impact of Tax Bill on Affordable Housing; Executive Director Juan Carlos Linares reflects

“As we hit the ground running in 2018, we must consider the impact of the Tax Bill passed last month by Republicans. The last overhaul of the federal tax code in 1986 created a tax credit meant to encourage the private sector to invest in affordable housing….

…we expect that this tax cut will exacerbate income inequality in America, and the massive deficits it creates will further exacerbate cuts to vital housing programs that our neighbors, friends, and families need to maintain stable, vibrant communities.

Read More