[dropcap]E[/dropcap]nlace Chicago announced Tuesday a project to will address the needs of the most densely populated community in Chicago, Little Village. The organization will create a new facility called Casa Destino. It is expected to serve over 80,000 residents who live in the community. The new three-story 7,800-square-foot building when the doors open in October 2016.
Casa Destino will consist of a multi-purpose room, offices for one-on-one counseling, mentorship, and legal services. The new facility will also include a computer lab, a community garden, along with an efficient workspace for Enlace’s growing staff of 34 full-time and 180 part-time employees.
Enlace Chicago has worked tirelessly to address the critical needs of the community since 1991.
Research demonstrates that Chicago’s Little Village community has a per capita annual income of $10,697, which is less than half of the City of Chicago average income of $27,148. Additional research indicates that the educational attainment of Little Village residents is well below average. About 24 percent of residents have a high school diploma or its equivalence. The Little Village community also has a high demand for schools, services and park space due to the 30 percent of the residents under the age of 18.
To help combat the current educational attainment level and meet the high demand for this new facility, Enlace Chicago’s Casa Destino will host a computer lab that will provide over 100 undocumented and college bound youth in Enlace’s Avanza ‘Little Village en route to college’ program the opportunity to utilize computers and spend 30 percent more time with Enlace postsecondary staff to complete college and scholarship applications.
“I am beyond excited today to announce the launch of our efforts to create Casa Destino in the heart of Little Village”, said Michael D. Rodríguez, executive director of Enlace Chicago. “We strive day-to-day to improve the quality of life of Little Village residents, they deserve the best. Casa Destino will help us achieve this goal by fostering a safe and healthy environment for youth and families, and will create opportunities for educational advancement and economic development.”
Casa Destino will meet the criteria necessary for Enlace to become the first U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) certified agency in Little Village, while amplifying Enlace’s case management services. With HUD certification, Enlace would be able to provide housing services to over 300 families each year.
Enlace Chicago has raised over $2M for the Casa Destino project thus far, while presently fundraising to reach its goal of $3.2M. The groundbreaking will take place during the fall of 2015.
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