Affordable homes for our community...
now and in the future


Picture this - a family of six - mother, father and 4 sons coming together to celebrate Thanksgiving. But two days before the holiday, at a time when dad cooked his most delicious meals, dad (my husband) suddenly drops dead from a heart attack. My sons and I muddled through the thickness of grief, trying to move forward. We were no longer able to afford housing. I learned about CPAH and I attended an information session. For the first time in a very long time, I felt hope. My CPAH experience is and will always be the most amazing and important turning point in my family’s journey. Today, two and a half years after learning about CPAH, we continue to cope with our loss, but the waters are calm. CPAH changed our lives and offered the opportunity to rebuild and achieve stability.


Our daughter Kayla was born with cerebral palsy. At the time, we were living in an apartment because it was what we could afford. However, as hard as we tried to make ends meet, we soon could not afford the apartment and had no choice but to return to live with our families. Kayla and I moved in with my mother, and Rene moved in with his mother.

Living apart was difficult, especially for Kayla, but it was the only way that we could save money to be able to afford a place for the three of us. Kayla really missed her father even though he came over every day to get her ready for school.

After saving for several years, we were faced with a difficult decision. It was clear that we could not afford a home or a wheel chair accessible apartment to be together as a family. However, leaving Highland Park would mean removing Kayla from her school where she not only felt secure, but was receiving therapy and much needed special services, including having a helper. Rene and I both went to school in Highland Park, and being near our family here was important for our daughter.

While at work one day, I was describing my discouragement to a co-worker. My frustration and sadness about not being able to live together as a family was awful. My co-worker told me about CPAH. While I didn’t really believe that owning a home in Highland Park would be possible, I started the process of applying for an affordable home. Even though I was really excited at the thought, I didn’t want to see the available homes because I didn’t want to be disappointed!

When I learned that we would have the opportunity to live in a CPAH home, I was thrilled, and the house was just the break we needed. Being able to live in a house in Highland Park enabled Kayla to stay in the same school and continue to receive the special services she needs. Now, Rene, Kayla and I feel like we have a new beginning as a family, and we feel very optimistic about the future as we wait for the newest member of our family, due in March. With the house came a sense of hope, stability and permanency that we did not have before.

There are many other local families that need CPAH’s help more than ever. Please support CPAH so that others can be given the same opportunity that we had and that enabled us to have a life together, under one roof. Thank you for helping make this possible for us.


How do I start to thank you for allowing me to own my own home??? If it weren’t for your organization I would have never been able to own/buy a home at this stage of my life. I could have never imagined owning such a beautiful home in Highland Park. THANK YOU SO MUCH for making this happen for me. I still can’t believe how close I am to work (and to everything else).

Mary Ann

Hyacinth Place has meant the world to us. Though hard to imagine in the 21st century, we did live in a town house that had cracks in the frames that let the cold in during the winter. Also, we didn't have much space for our two little children to walk around. We learned about Hyacinth Place and the Community Land Trust just about when we really needed to move to a bigger place, and in a better condition. We were also planning to buy something (we were renting), but that was impossible for us in Highland Park (I am a teacher here; my wife was becoming one, and we were making ends meet by tutoring students one on one). My wife told me once that she had thought she would never be able to have a home like the one we own. We now feel we live with dignity, and exactly where we want to live. The surroundings are also the best you can imagine. Of course we are paying for all this, but it is such a great gift.


As a person born and raised in Highland Park, affordable housing has given my family and me the opportunity to stay in Highland Park. Without these supports, my children would not have been able to complete their education at Highland Park High School. One of my three children was severely disabled and required much assistance from NSSED. The many educational opportunities that my children have experienced will be forever etched in our memories. As an educator for the Waukegan Public Schools, a good solid education, with many opportunities for growth, is a very important aspect of living in a community.


My husband and I both grew up in the wonderful community of Highland Park, and dreamed of being able to raise our children here. Besides being near to the grandparents who love them, we wanted them to have the same educational opportunities that we had. As an educator myself, I am aware that Highland Park schools are amongst the best in the state.

However, when I was 9 months pregnant, my husband lost his job. At the same time, the economy was crashing and available credit was tightening. Our dream of owning a home was fading before our eyes, until we learned of the housing program that brought us where we are today. We never imagined we could ever afford a home in Highland Park. Our home would be “green” and energy-conscious, which is more important to me than ever since I have become a parent.

We moved in May 2009 and since then have truly become part of the community. My daughter's favorite part of the day is when we walk to the park across the street where she sees all of her new friends! Now I have learned one more thing about the community of Highland Park: it values giving people from different walks of life and income brackets a way to have a fresh start in life. Thank you for helping to extend this dream-turned-reality.


Living in Hyacinth Place has given me and my son a new beginning. Finding myself a single mom after living in Highland Park for 20 years, we needed to stay in the same school district in order for my son to finish high school. Highland Park was out of the question, even for renting.

When I read about Hyacinth Place in the Highland Park News I decided to apply. Today, we are surrounded by a supportive community. Living in affordable housing has made me want to achieve and strive for more, and has given us a very positive attitude. Honestly, I pinch myself every day because I am so fortunate to live here.

What would I tell a person who is just learning about affordable housing? Some people have the misconception that affordable housing is not good for the neighborhood. Nothing could be further from the truth. It gives good people who work in or near the community the opportunity to live in the community they serve.

In addition, CPAH staff have been so supportive, responsive, and caring to all of the families who live here. Hyacinth Place is not just affordable and safe; it is also a wonderful place to live in.


The path we take in life does not always follow our dreams and our goals. Some say 75% of what we accomplish is due to planning and the other 25% is luck and if you don’t have that 25% of luck, you may not reach your goals. When my husband and I were young, we were full of dreams and set goals to make those dreams happen. However, we seldom had the luck.

We were hard working with a beautiful family and a home. We both had good jobs and did not worry about the future. We were brought down when our daughter was diagnosed with a brain tumor, followed by my husband suffering a debilitating stroke at 49. We took in my mother with Alzheimer’s and cared for her until she passed at 91.

We lived in survival mode, hope being a word we could no longer recognize. I worked up to 90 hours a week to keep things going and keep our home of 25 years. Eventually medical and legal bills left us drained and we were forced to sell our home. Our hopes and dreams were extinguished. After our daughter’s death, we adopted our grandson and began to build our little family around him. He was born at 2 pounds, 9 ounces and has had many health issues: eight surgeries on his left ear in 11 years, digestive and lung problems, and chronic back problems.

The day we first saw Hyacinth Place, our spirits refilled with hope for the future. In our handicapped accessible unit, my wheelchair-bound husband saw a freedom of movement he had not experienced since his stroke 23 years prior. Our son/grandson saw a new beginning with ease of transportation to get to jobs and school. I saw a new environment with rooms full of brightness through the large windows snug enough to keep winter’s drafts out. We met with neighbors who were all involved in creating this new community called Hyacinth Place.

We were lifted from the depths of darkness and depression into a life of brightness and hope. Our rent is affordable and our utility bills are low due to the environmentally sustainable design. We again can enjoy life with our neighbors in this community. Thank you would not be sufficient for the luck that finally came to us when we found Hyacinth Place.


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CPAH Spotlight:

Craig & Nicia's Story

This is our story of how CPAH helped us turn our lives around and change directions.

We were earning enough income from our jobs that we were able to start saving for a home. Our second baby was on the way and while we weren't entirely secure, we felt we were making progress.

Then Nicia, along with hundreds of others at her company, unexpectedly lost her job of 13 years. Suddenly, we went from two incomes for our family of three, to one income for what would soon be our family of four. To make matters worse, with winter coming, Craig's hours as a truck driver were reduced. Since the rent for our townhome was now out of reach, we looked for a one-bedroom apartment, but we couldn't find decent, affordable housing.

For for the first time, we went into credit card debt to meet our monthly expenses. We were sinking and no matter what we tried, could not change directions. We felt hopeless.

Then we heard about CPAH. We quickly learned that CPAH had thrown us a life preserver. CPAH encouraged us and helped us through the application process. When we were fully qualified, we thought that maybe this was our chance to change directions.

When we walked into the home that would eventually become ours, it was unbelievable. Could this really be a home for our family? The answer was a life-changing yes. Now we have a safe, affordable, permanent place to call home and are optimistic about our future. Our expenses are manageable, and we are part of a wonderful community. Thank you CPAH!

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