Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly has consistently cared for Chicago’s under-served low-income senior population for 30 years. H.O.M.E. is committed to providing essential services to seniors to enable them to maintain independent and enriching lives within their neighborhoods. Our services include affordable intergenerational housing, free home repair and free shopping transportation. We deliver these services in a warm and caring manner, and focus on the individuals we serve, not just the immediate problem they need solved. Volunteers play an important role in achieving this mission.
H.O.M.E. has been fortunate to have eager volunteers to ensure that low-income seniors are able to have their homes painted and weatherized, part of our mission to deliver free services. It has been an exciting summer because H.O.M.E. hosted six volunteer groups, which is the largest turnout so far. We would like to recognize and extend our thanks to all the groups that worked so hard to help seniors in need.
The first group was 25 teenagers from Texas who over four days painted four seniors’ homes. They are part of a group called SHINE, Serving Him in the Needy and Elderly. According the Operations and Volunteer Coordinator, Mike Laz, “All the seniors that were serviced by SHINE were very appreciative and had high praise for the groups in their home. In all cases it renewed their outlook on teenagers and the quality of person they are.” Not only were these teens able to work on the seniors homes, but they also took the time to have meaningful conversations with the seniors, which in turn lifted the seniors’ spirits. You can learn more about SHINE by visiting their website. SHINE requested to volunteer again next summer and H.O.M.E. is eager to have them back.
Alive In You is a Catholic youth camp that teaches young people how to integrate faith into their daily lives and activities. This includes volunteering in different areas. Sixteen youth volunteered with H.O.M.E. over a couple of days and were able to paint two homes (over 12 rooms) and complete spring cleaning at Pat Crowley House. If they are in Chicago again next summer they would also like to return. More information about Alive In You is available via their website .
Pilgrim Church of Southborough, MA came to H.O.M.E. this summer with ten teenagers and two adults. They painted 12 rooms in three seniors’ homes. They expressed their joy in their partnership with us. They rotate their volunteer sites to different areas of the country, but would enjoy working with H.O.M.E. again in the future. Visit their Facebook page at in order to learn more about their congregation and community.
Experience Mission exists to, “spread Christ's love by connecting people together from diverse cultures and backgrounds, developing leaders, and assisting those that live in under-developed communities with resources and support to enable them to reach their own communities and actively participate in extending out to the world." One way they fulfill this mission is through volunteer opportunities, and H.O.M.E. was lucky to be one of the sites they visited the last two summers. Over a number of visits, 30 Experience volunteers painted seven seniors’ homes, as well as installed air-conditioning units and did cleaning at Blackhawk Manor. Experience Mission will be volunteering with us again next summer, and we will be thrilled to have them back. Additional information on Experience Mission is available on their website.
Another group that made a significant impact this summer was Catholic Heart Work Camp, who were back for their third year. Their mission is, “to revitalize communities and beautify homes for the elderly, disabled and those who cannot afford needed repairs.” This goes right along with H.O.M.E.’s mission. They provided over 80 individuals and were able to complete painting 10 homes. Thankfully, they will also be returning to help next summer. There is more information about who they are and what they do on their website.
Hugh O’Brian Youth Leadership, (HOBY) also assisted this summer. Their organization’s mission is, “to inspire and develop our global community of youth and volunteers to a life dedicated to leadership, service and innovation.” HOBY volunteers provided brunch and fellowship to residents at Pat Crowley House and the fifth floor of Nathalie Salmon House. They demonstrated that spending quality time getting to know the residents is a powerful and mutually satisfying way to volunteer. If you would like to learn more about HOBY, click here.
These six groups had a huge impact on H.O.M.E. and the seniors we serve. Without organizations and volunteers like these, non-profits cannot survive. Volunteers make a vital contribution to the impact Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly creates. We appreciate all their hard work and look forward to continuing a partnership with these organizations and many more to come.