10 Chicago non-profits that need your help this holiday season

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Shelter is a basic human need and a basic human right. As an apartment research company, we know that many Chicagoans struggle to find and maintain consistent shelter and that this struggle is interconnected with many other basic human needs.

Today we would like to recognize some non-profits that serve Chicago communities by providing access to shelter, food, health care, education, employment, technology, and other services. Please consider donating or volunteering your time and skills to any of these organizations.

Organizations are listed in alphabetical order.

Albany Park Workers Center (a division of the Latino Union)

latino unionWhat they do: coordinate the process of hiring day laborers to eliminate incidents of wage theft. Train laborers to ensure that employers get reliable help. English and workplace safety classes.

Who they help: Day laborers, particularly immigrants.

How you can help: Hire a laborer to help with construction, moving, shoveling or other short term manual labor projects. Donate funds to assist with other programs that help day laborers.

Founded: 2004

Annual Revenue: $540k (Latino Union)

Location: Albany Park (Workers Center) / Pilsen (Latino Union)

All Chicago Emergency Fund Program

allchicagoWhat they do: Provide Chicago residents assistance with rent and utilities to prevent an unexpected financial setback from leading to loss of housing, as well as quickly re-housing people who have become homeless.

Who they help: Chicago families and students who are facing short-term financial setbacks that could lead to homelessness.

How you can help: Donate funds. Participate in benefit events to help raise awareness and financial backing.

Founded: 1999

Annual Revenue: $1.27m

Location: The Loop

Chicago House

CH-30th-Anniversary-Logo-vFinal-84pixelHWhat they do: Provide housing, employment assistance, healthcare assistance, legal services, HIV prevention services and other support.

Who they help: Chicago individuals and families from the LGBTQ community.

How you can help: Donate gently used clothing, furniture or household items. Interview clothing is particularly needed. Donate funds. Volunteer at the Translife Center. Work on the Street outreach team or make safe sex kits for HIV prevention. Assist with events. Write for their blog. Help with data entry.

Founded: 1986

Annual Revenue: $6.65m

Location: Lincoln Park

Deborah's Place

deborahs_place_logoWhat they do: Provide temporary and long-term shelter for women emerging from homelessness. Provide access and assistance with education, benefits, healthcare and employment training.

Who they help: Chicago women who are dealing with homelessness, disability, mental illness and addiction.

How you can help: Serve meals at shelter locations. Share your skills with residents. Serve on the planning board to help coordinate special events and fundraisers. Assist with landscaping and cleanup at shelters. Host Bingo games. Provide short term administrative support.

Founded: 1987

Annual Revenue: $3.33m

Location: Garfield Park (main office) / Old Town / Lakeview

FreeGeek Chicago

freegeekWhat they do: Recycle used computers and parts to build functional computers for those who need them, as well as providing internet access and job skills training. Provide technical support to other community projects on an ad hoc basis.

Who they help: Economically disadvantaged Chicagoans in need of low cost technology and tech training.

How you can help: Donate used computers, equipment and cash. Help disassemble and rebuild old systems for sale in their thrift shop. Teach classes in basic and advanced computing subjects. Pick up donations and transport computer hardware.

Founded: 2009

Annual Revenue: $86.6k

Location: Logan Square

I Grow Chicago

igrowchicagoWhat they do: Provide a safe haven for children and at-risk community members. Teach sustainable farming, nutrition and yoga. Provide mentoring and support.

Who they help: At risk youths and teens in and around the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.

How you can help: Donate detergent and toiletries. Donate art supplies, yoga mats, bottled water or journals. Donate gardening supplies or kitchen appliances. Mentor at-risk kids and teens. Help serve food, transport supplies, or assist with special events.

Note: I Grow Chicago's 501(c)(3) not-for-profit status has currently lapsed, but they remain in operation. We are including them as we support their ideas even if their organizational skills may be lacking. Please discuss their plans to disclose their financials and restore their good standing with the IRS before making large donations.

Founded: 2012

Annual Revenue: Not reported

Location: Arlington Heights (Corporate) / Englewood (Facility)

Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly

homeseniorsWhat they do: Help low-income seniors remain part of the community through home repair, moving services, bus service to grocery stores and pharmacies, and intergenerational community housing.

Who they help: Senior citizens in the city of Chicago, with additional free weatherization and painting services for low-income seniors who live south of North Ave in Chicago.

How you can help: Assist with cleaning, painting and gardening at senior citizens' homes. Participate in their annual walkathon. Coordinate parties and activities for seniors. Donate funds, cell phones, cars and gift cards.

Founded: 1982

Annual Revenue: $1.47m

Location: West Loop

Lakeside Community Development Corporation

lakesidecdcWhat they do: Help to create and preserve affordable housing through a variety of programs including fair housing education, condominium board training, mediation of landlord-tenant disputes, credit and budget counseling, and helping first-time homebuyers with the purchase process.

Who they help: Homeowners, landlords, renters and condominium associations in Chicago

How you can help: Assist with administrative tasks and publicity. Assist with media relations and social media campaigns. Help with client services and general outreach. Donate funds.

Founded: 2005

Annual Revenue: $190k

Location: Rogers Park

Lawyers Committee for Better Housing

lcbhWhat they do: Provide free legal assistance to lower income renters facing wrongful eviction, discrimination and/or substandard living conditions.

Who they help: Low-income renters in the city of Chicago.

How you can help: Attorneys can provide pro bono representation for tenants going through eviction. All interested people can provide counseling to tenants in foreclosed buildings. Donate funds. Participate in their annual Hearts for Housing benefit.

Founded: 1980

Annual revenue: $1.53m

Location: The Loop

Teen Living Programs

TLP-logo-with-white-outline-e1416852812965What they do: Help young people experiencing unstable housing or homelessness with housing, health care, and education and employment opportunities.

Who they serve: Homeless young people ages 14-24 on Chicago's south side.

How you can help: Provide field trip opportunities. Donate water bottles, winter outerwear, hand and foot warmers, baby furniture, clothing racks, underwear for women, storage bins, clothing, appliances, ACE bandages, gel shoe inserts, wigs, hair extensions, toiletries. Help with administrative and data entry tasks. Cook meals for shelters. Provide tutoring and training. Help with events and fundraising drives.

Founded: 1976

Annual revenue: $3m

Location: River North (offices) / Washington Park (Drop in Center) / Bronzeville (Shelters) / Scattered Site apartments

This is not a complete list, but rather selections from a pool of worthy organizations. If you know of any other organizations that you think should be included, please share them in the comments.

Please don't forget to share this article with your friends and family! Even if you do not see an organization that interests you, they might find their next big project in this list.


Published by

Jon Hoferle