Campaign for Thriving Families
Governor Pat Quinn stands alongside Gloria Kuechenberg, Christopher House Director of Family Services, and Lori Baas, Christopher House CEO, after announcing Christopher House as the recipient of a $5 million grant from the IL Capital Development Board to support the construction of our new Family Resource Center in Belmont Cragin.
“If violence is the disease, Christopher House is the inoculation. Christopher House inoculates these children against violence.”
- Senator Richard Durbin
As a community-based agency committed to the development and success of Chicago’s low-income children and families, Christopher House has long been committed to offering our services in the communities where they are needed most. Offering services in these communities encourages a sense of empowerment, civic engagement and accountability among our families, and enables us to leverage our strength, experience, partnerships, and strategic program model to help low-income children, families, and communities thrive.
Phase one of our capital campaign was for our new Logan Square Family Resource Center, opened in October 2007. In phase two of our campaign, currently in progress, we are relocating our headquarters and programs which have been located in the west end of Lincoln Park for more than 100 years to the high-need community of Belmont Cragin.
Right Now in Belmont Cragin
Through a thorough community needs assessment, we identified Belmont Cragin as an area with a tremendous gap between need and availability of educational and social services. Belmont Cragin faces the challenges of poverty, illiteracy, and a surge in the child and youth population:
- Belmont Cragin has the largest early childhood population (ages 0-5) in the city of Chicago, but just one slot of licensed child care, Head Start or pre-K for every six children.
- 96% of Chicago Public Schools students are low-income.
- 55% of residents over the age of 5 report speaking English “less than very well.”
- Over the last 15 years, there has been a 141% increase in the child and youth population, creating a tremendous demand for education and social services
- Many census tracts have just over one slot of licensed childcare for every 10 children.
- Schools are under-resourced and overcrowded. Eight out of 11 (73%) public schools in the community are on academic probation.
- Births to teens are up 34.9% while teen pregnancy citywide is down 27.4%.
Meeting the Need
In the spring of 2010, following negotiations with Chicago Public Schools and with the full support of former Mayor Richard M. Daley, Christopher House secured property for our Belmont Cragin Family Resource Center. This site, located at 2250 N. Latrobe Avenue, is close to public transportation and several public schools. At full capacity, our Belmont Cragin Family Resource Center will serve over 500 families per year and house our administrative offices. We will be the first center-based provider of Early Head Start in the neighborhood, and our center will offer our full range of services, including early childhood education, after-school programs, college and career preparation, prenatal and parent education, adult education including ESL, counseling and food pantry.
Your generous support will allow us to begin providing critical services to hundreds of children and families in Belmont Cragin.