LITTLE VILLAGE — From accessing vaccination appointments to distributing personal protective equipment, a new resource center is hoping to connect Little Village residents and the broader South Lawndale neighborhood to necessary resources to support them in the pandemic.
Latinos Progresando has opened a resource center at 3030 W. Cermak Road with the help of Marquette Bank. The branch closed due to the pandemic and the bank donated the space to the nonprofit.
As part of the resource center, the Little Village-based organization will work to connect residents to vaccination appointments, and help neighbors and local businesses get necessary personal protective equipment, said Luis Gutierrez, founder and CEO of Latinos Progresando.
The center will also be used to sign families to the city’s Chicago Connected initiative, which provides free internet to CPS families, and provide essential services through the nonprofit’s immigration legal services and the Marshall Square Resource Network, Gutierrez said.
After coronavirus swept through the neighborhood, Gutierrez said the resource center was a chance to deepen the group’s efforts to “build back in a powerful way.”
It’s critical to have a visible space “so people that need help can get help there,” he said.
Since the pandemic, Latinos Progresando has provided community organizations with more than 65,000 units of PPE and more than $350,000 in financial assistance to struggling families. They established a hotline to answer immigration-related questions, fielding about 2,000 calls a month, according to the nonprofit.
Most recently, they worked alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health and Esperanza Health Centers to set up the two Little Village vaccination sites as part of the Protect Chicago Plus program. A few weeks ago, they also helped vaccinate 1,900 people at Arturo Velasquez Westside Technical Institute, Gutierrez said.
In announcing the donation, Manny Jimenez, First Vice President and CRA Officer, said Marquette Bank was “proud to donate the building giving this space a renewed purpose in helping local residents and supporting the mission of Latinos Progresando.”
For now, the resource center will be focused on immediate COVID-related needs. But long term organizers envision it will help provide various types of community assistance, Gutierrez said.
“This will be a facility…where we can help as many people, organizations and businesses as possible,” Gutierrez said.
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.