2021 NCR/NCDC Annual Appeal

2021 NCR/NCDC Annual Appeal

Dear Supporters and Friends,

On the behalf of Northside Community Resources (NCR) and its subsidiary, the Northside Community Development Corporation (NCDC), we want to extend our wishes of health, happiness, and safety to you and your family this coming holiday season. During yet another challenging year we reflect to remember that we’re all in this together, and that taking care of each other is more important than ever.

NCR was founded as the Rogers Park Community Council (RPCC) in 1952 when a group of neighbors came together to help stop private development along the northern lakefront, including thirteen street-end beaches in Rogers Park, which were preserved for public use due to RPCC’s organizing and advocacy efforts. The NCDC subsidiary was created in 1996 as the housing arm of NCR, when there was a need to help convert a troubled building on Morse Avenue into affordable senior apartments. Since their founding, both NCR and NCDC have been providing a variety of human service programming which has continually evolved over time to help meet the evolving needs of our community’s diverse population.

While 2021 has seen some positive improvements in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic, it is also clear that life has not yet returned to normal, especially for the most underserved and vulnerable members of our community. Unfortunately, the gradual pace of improvement has been much slower for these populations that include seniors, individuals with disabilities, immigrants, refugees, and those who are housing-insecure. Many are still out of work, have lost health insurance, savings, and for some- even their homes. Community members seek the agencies’ help in applying for rental assistance, public benefits, finding alternative housing, combating housing discrimination, or securing emergency assistance to help them get back on their feet.

Since March of 2020, Covid-19 forced many social service agencies to close their doors. However, NCR and NCDC transitioned to conduct all operations remotely, with no lapse in services. We safely re-opened for onsite services in July of 2020 to serve those with technological and economic barriers. The agencies secured PPE for staff, reconfigured office space to safely serve clients one-at-a-time from behind a service window and implemented stringent safety measures recommended by government health agencies. NCR and NCDC are still providing remote services today, but the onsite services continue to allow us to provide in-person support.

Due to this continuing critical need, NCR partnered with several community groups to raise money for relief efforts and provided the following initiatives to help countless people who were greatly impacted by the pandemic:

  • Coordinated through the office of 49th Ward Alderwoman, Maria Hadden, NCR collaborated with a local volunteer group called the Rogers Park Community Response Team to help distribute more than $57,000 that was raised in relief aid to area residents, to help them pay rent, buy food, medicine, and other vital supplies for themselves and their children. NCR and Ald. Hadden’s office continue to reciprocate referrals between the two offices based on community members’ needs to provide a more integrated continuum of ward resources.
  • NCR has been participating with Ald. Harry Osterman’s office’s outreach efforts to increase resource visibility in the 48th Ward through the Ward’s outdoor, walk-up resource table throughout the summer. NCR and the 48th Ward office continue to work in a collective impact collaboration by reciprocating client referrals.
  • A separate community relief fund created by NCR in collaboration with the Rogers Park Builders Group that raised almost $14,000 in relief aid, which NCR distributed to clients in NCR’s Multicultural Resource Program who were ineligible for any government-based assistance. 
  • In 2021, NCR and NCDC administered the first round of the new Illinois Rental Payment Program 1.0 (ILRPP), providing financial assistance for rent to income-eligible Illinois renters and their landlords who have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the Program’s inception in April 2021, NCR and NCDC have provided ILRPP 1.0 services to 515 individuals. Both agencies expect to begin ILRPP 2.0 in December 2021.

NCR & NCDC continued carrying out all their regular programming during this time, including: 

  • Intensive case management for vulnerable seniors.
  • Small accessible home repairs for seniors, to help them stay safe and mobile throughout their homes.
  • Housing technical assistance, to help individuals and families find housing and mediate with landlords
  • Assisting hundreds of individuals/families apply for rental assistance programs.
  • Combating housing discrimination through its Fair Housing program.
  • Helping countless family members from the immigrant and refugee communities, apply for public benefits and/or connecting them to other non-government-based resources.
  • Helping countless individuals and families mitigate home foreclosures.
  • Helping to educate and assist countless individuals and families with financial literacy, credit management, budgeting, and 1st time home buyer counseling.

We are proud of the work that NCR and NCDC staff have continued to do during the pandemic, helping countless people endure and overcome unprecedented challenges. However, to continue this work, we need your help in reaching our difficult but not impossible goal of $15,000. We need these funds to help offset increased costs associated with this increased need. This includes a Covid-related housing crisis that is hitting every community very hard. Increasing NCR’s capacity in housing services will simply allow us to help more people find or remain in safe, affordable, and stable housing. Our Senior Services and Multicultural Resources Program are also seeing increased client intakes and services, as both programs are also serving clients in housing- as well as a myriad of other challenges.  

We need your help in reaching our goal of $15,000 so that we can continue serving some of the most vulnerable populations in Chicago’s North Side neighborhoods and surrounding suburbs. Please make a generous donation of $50, $75, $100 or more before the end of the year, either through PayPal or by simply mailing us a check. As always, NCR and NCDC are eternally grateful for your continued support. Thank you.


Tom Lisy
Board President

Chris Zala
Executive Director

Meet Some of NCR/NCDC’s Deserving Clients


Northside Community Resources’ Fair Housing Program offers outreach and education to all, and legal help to people experiencing discrimination on Chicago’s North Side. The Fair Housing Program investigates possible housing discrimination and assists clients in filing and resolving discrimination complaints against housing providers to redress violations and prevent future discrimination. 

Janell, a Chicago area native, applied for an apartment in Edgewater in Chicago while living outside of the country. After an accident led to her becoming disabled while living in Germany, she felt that she needed to return to the US to receive necessary medical treatment without the language barrier. Therefore, she needed a place to live. She found an apartment online that she loved, spoke with building management, and explicitly explained that her disability required her use of a wheelchair, and that she would require accessibility. Building management staff assured her that there would be no problem. When she made it back to Chicago and went to see her apartment for the first time, she wasn’t even able to enter the building: the only entrance was a revolving door.

Out of necessity, Janell needed to break her lease and find a new home. The building’s management company insisted that she pay $6,735 to break her lease. She also feared that the company would file an eviction action against her. She needed help and did what most people would do: a Google search.

“That’s how I connected to Jordan and Betsy, and they stepped up for me and became my advocate[s], became my voice, and resolved the whole situation for me because it was a real nightmare. They responded to her [Betsy] in minutes! I didn’t know what I was going to do, and I felt so defeated.”

Betsy Shuman-Moore and Jordan Golding are members of the NCR Fair Housing Program team. After Jordan obtained the information from Janell, Betsy, the team’s attorney, began to try and resolve the issue. When Betsy confronted the management company with the facts and a likely disability discrimination complaint under the Fair Housing Act, they began negotiating. The company ultimately agreed within weeks to drop the lease buyout fee and to return the first month’s rent that Janell had already paid. “To go through this situation and to actually need an advocate for myself, it was something that I thought that I would never need, but gosh, I did find the right people and couldn’t have asked for a better organization. And they stood up for me in a way that I would wish to stand up for someone else.”

NCR’s Multicultural Resources Program’s Light Shines Brightest at Clients’ Darkest Hours

In September 2021, Multicultural Resources Program (MRP) client, Rodolfo, had open-heart surgery which was followed by an extensive recovery and rehabilitation process. In addition to cardiovascular health issues, Rodolfo’s left foot has become swollen because of his diabetes, and this condition only worsened after the heart surgery. His physicians suggested that he delay his Covid-19 vaccination because his heart condition and diabetes had kept him in a fragile physical state. Rodolfo needs to go to physical therapy once a week, does not own a car, and relies on public transportation to get to his 6:00 a.m. therapy sessions. Because of illness, healing, and transportation/scheduling logistics, he has been unable to return to work. He was also forced to leave his apartment because he could no longer afford the rent and is now temporarily living with friends who are hosting him during his recovery. NCR’s Multicultural Resource Program was able assist Rodolfo in applying for financial assistance. Rodolfo and NCR were able to secure $3,000 from the CV-19 IFSP (Immigrant Family Support Project) from ICIRR (Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights) to assist Rodolfo through this extremely critical and vulnerable time in his life.

Jacinto also struggles with health problems. In early September 2021, Jacinto was let go from his job after he suffered several heart attacks which later resulted in a stroke, paralyzing half of his body. Because of his health-related loss of employment, his health insurance was also discontinued. Jacinto needed very expensive physical therapy twice a week through his recovery process. In addition to this unplanned for expense, Jacinto still needed to take care of his basic living expenses like rent, food, and utilities. NCR was able to help him apply for the CV-19 IFSP financial assistance program, and he was also able to receive $3,000 in emergency aid to cover the costs of living and recovery from illness.

While these cases may seem like extreme cases to most, these stories really aren’t anything extraordinary for the staff of NCR’s Multicultural Resources Program. The MRP team regularly counsels and assists clients in finding resources while they are in the direst of life circumstances. Multicultural Resources Program Director, Aga Kusmierz, explains that finding hope for clients is what brings energy to the MRP staff. “The whole MRP team works tirelessly with compassion and respect for each client to ensure that they are in a better place than when they came to us. Seeing positive outcomes for these individuals is why we do this work, and it’s what keeps us going every day.” 

Answering the Call for Seniors in Need

In 2020, NCR’s Senior Services Manager received a call from a Rogers Park resident who was concerned about an elderly neighbor who was in her late seventies. This concerned neighbor approached NCR to inquire about any support services that may help her neighbor who hadn’t left her home in 14 years. When NCR’s Senior Services Manager contacted this prospective client by phone, she was in no way resistant to accepting help, and knew that she was at a point in her life where current circumstances required drastic assistance. In addition to, or because of, not leaving her home in 14 years, the client had become a hoarder and neighbors had complained about the smell emitted from her residence. NCR’s Senior Services Manager conducted a home visit to assess the situation in the client’s home, as well as health and lifestyle. During the full year that the client was in the NCR Seniors Program, NCR staff were able to enroll her in Medicaid; establish a primary care physician; make an appointment with an ophthalmologist to secure appropriate glasses; enrolled her in public benefits- including SNAP; and secured her a cell phone. To address living space and lifestyle, NCR staff hired a service to conduct heavy duty chores and deep cleanings, and the client now has an ongoing homemaker service to ensure the upkeep of her home’s cleanliness. NCR also provided financial literacy education and helped the client open a bank account, while also enrolling her in the LIHEAP Program to lower the costs of her utilities. The client is now living more independently, is no longer under the threat of eviction, and now has positive relationships with the neighbors who were once, both worried about, and bothered by her living situation. With new glasses and improved vision, she is now able to leave her home and become an active member of society for the first time in 14 years. After her year in the NCR Seniors Program, this client is mentally, physically (living space), and physiologically in a much healthier, safer, and happier place than a year prior.

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Make all checks payable to Northside Community Resources and send it to the following address. Thank you!

Northside Community Resources
1530 W Morse Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60626

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For any questions, please contact development@northsidecr.org. Thank you!