CCL (formerly Humboldt Park Social Services) has been responding to the needs of individuals and families who are homeless or at risk of homelessness since 1989 when the congregation of Humboldt Park United Methodist Church began an outreach ministry. In 1990, this ministry was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit agency. In 2004, it began assessing how it could move from what it termed a “band-aid” organization to a “root cause” organization. Plans were made to open a supportive service center to provide greater intensity of service to those participating in CCL’s residential program in 2005.
While focused initially on case management, it became clear that financial and income services were needed at the center to achieve housing stability. In response, CCL, in partnership with Logan Square Neighborhood Association and Local Initiatives Support Corporation, brought the Center for Working Families (CWF) model to Logan Square. The CWF model is a nationally recognized, evidence based model that integrates three core services together to achieve meaningful economic advancement – financial coaching, employment coaching and income support services (mainstream benefits). CCL utilizes the CWF model to increase employment, mobilize subsidies and mainstream benefits, and reduce household fees and expenses simultaneously, taking a holistic approach to building a household’s financial capability.
In 2010, CCL competed for and was awarded federal Social Innovation Funds (SIF) for the financial stability work implemented at CCL. Only 47 organizations nationwide received initial funding and CCL was the only organization of the original ten grantees in Chicago utilizing the model predominantly with people experiencing or at-risk of homelessness. Based on performance, CCL has been renewed for funding for a total of five years.
Today, CCL continues innovating to expand access to opportunities and to find more effective solutions to individual, organizational, and community challenges. Its programs focus on building community in which resource is shared and exchanged in radical ways that build social support systems where needed. It can foster relationships that last from homelessness to homeownership, given its services are both shelter-based and community-based and focused on economic opportunity. It is at the forefront of utilizing coaching and financial capability services to prevent and end homelessness, particularly among the predominantly Latino population of the Northwest side of Chicago.