Please contact Nikki Way, Director of Development & Communications for any press inquires at (773) 622-3215.
Onward Neighborhood House opens doors to improve lives and uplift communities through educational, economic and support services.
Onward Neighborhood House is a nonprofit community hub where residents of Belmont Cragin, a sprawling community on Chicago’s Northwest side, can access the programs and services needed to build a better life for themselves and their families.
Founded in 1893, Onward Neighborhood House originally served as a church and then as a settlement house: a school, refuge, and community center where thousands of impoverished working immigrants could access vital social services as they worked to integrate into all facets of life in Chicago, their new home. In the early 20th century, people needed food, clothing, and shelter, and Onward House responded. Today, adult education and affordable child care rank among the community’s greatest needs; Onward House is one of the only comprehensive adult education providers in Belmont Cragin and one of the major providers of high-quality early childhood education.
Onward Neighborhood House impacts about 950 socioeconomically disadvantaged children and families (approximately 5,500 individuals) annually in the Belmont Cragin and surrounding neighborhoods (Austin, Dunning, Hanson Park, Portage Park, Logan Square, Hermosa, and Montclare) through programs, services, community workshops, and events. The Belmont Cragin community is 65% Hispanic/Latin and primarily Spanish-speaking, with 42% of that population born outside of the U.S. and 68% not yet citizens. According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Belmont Cragin has the third-largest population of “people who speak English less than very well” within the city of Chicago.
Onward House is in a unique position in our community as a trusted support system to help provide our local residents with the support, resources, and assistance they need through the help of our staff and organization. We actively engage with the community to identify unmet needs, build long-term relationships, and aim to develop holistic, co-located programs to make it possible for multiple generations of families and individuals to thrive. There are very few resources in the neighborhood that offer similar services and programming, and none of those programs are located all in one space, nor do these organizations have relationships with local residents to help them feel at ease enough to discuss sensitive issues, such as citizenship and literacy.
Belmont Cragin is at the intersection of high positive COVID-19 rates, and high unemployment claims. Our work in our community is holistic and responsive to their needs, and this time of crisis is an opportunity for us to utilize the trust that Belmont Cragin has placed in us and offer support to those that are unable to find help from many resources, including those who are economically unstable, and immigrants. Onward House is in a position to fill the gaps that are deeply needed for these individuals in this time of crisis.