Hope and home. For Mercy Housing Lakefront in Chicago, that is where it starts.
“The ability to get up every morning and advance yourself is predicated on hope,” said Mercy Housing Lakefront President Mark Angelini. “Once you have a healthy home, it becomes easier to hope because in the service-enriched affordable housing Mercy Housing provides, residents have both a literal and figurative foundation that will support them and their family as they move forward in life.”
Mercy Housing has been serving individuals and families in Chicago and Wisconsin for 34 years. The organization is focused on providing homes for people so they can achieve a sense of stability.
“You can see the progress of people who have an affordable and safe home – it’s key for that individual who wants to achieve independence, it helps them take care of children, it enables them to live a life of meaning and impact,” said Angelini. “The home is not just a physical building; it is a place to be nurtured and cared for.”
COVID-19 changed everything. Residents needed support for the basics, but also for internet access. U.S. Bank provided an additional $25,000 to the organization to help residents with this critical need in the form of laptops and mobile hot spots, which allows them to pay bills, apply for jobs and stay connected. U.S. Bank employees are also supporting families with financial education and resources such as help navigating online banking, financial planning, and job application assistance.
“It’s so empowering for residents to see the U.S. Bank employees coming to help them,” said Angelini. “Our residents need to know that people care for them. And the U.S. Bank employees are very passionate volunteers. Our residents know ‘we can't do it alone’ and they need organizations to work with them in meaningful ways. They need that to get families out of poverty. It's doable, but it takes a big network and persistence.”
At Mercy Housing Lakefront, the work continues to create home and hope. The organization is working on a vision for its community spaces, which may be turned into a virtual learning hub for the resident children to use for remote schooling and/or afterschool programs. These resources will be made possible with the technology purchased through the U.S. Bank sponsorship.