La Casa Opens Its Doors

By: Ashmar Mandou

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Local News

Situated in the heart of the Pilsen community, La Casa Student Housing is an innovative community-based residence hall for area college students. La Casa, together with its resource center, will bring the college campus experience into the community.

It was a triumphant moment for the people of Pilsen as they welcomed the latest gem to their community, La Casa.

After more than ten years, The Resurrection Project (TRP) finally opened the doors to La Casa Student Housing, the community-based student-housing facility that is sure to set the standard in education for generations to come, last week during a ribbon-cutting ceremony attended by Governor Pat Quinn, Alderman Daniel Solis, TRP’s CEO Raul Raymundo, and State Representative Edward Acevedo on October 11th.

“It’s an exciting opportunity,” said Director of La Casa Maria Bucio. “I think for an educator, who really likes this type of work, this is a dream come true. We have created the heart of Pilsen that says we value education.”

What the six-story student housing facility aims to do is foster a network of student academic support, including mentorship and internship programs, offer career guidance, tutoring, and push students to complete their first bachelor’s degree by providing a space that is conducive to learning.

“The State of Illinois has been making a series of educational investments in Latino communities,” stated Governor Quinn at the ceremony. “Our investment in La Casa is a continuation of this effort to ensure that the youth of our community succeed and become integrated into the fabric of our society.” The $12.2 million dollar project was made possible in large part to an $8.4 million grant from the State of Illinois.

“It is rather a symbolic experience,” said Bucio. “It is the realization as a community that if we wanted a change, we had to work together as a community to make it happen.”

According to the Lumina Foundation, by 2035, 63 percent of all jobs in the United States will require postsecondary education or training. It is vital, according to Bucio, that students, especially Latino students successfully transition into college and complete their degrees. In 2010, only 13 percent of Latinos ages 25 to 29 had completed a bachelor’s degree.

La Casa will provide local students with a quiet study environment offering the benefits of on-campus housing, including live-in resident advisors to provide ongoing academic support. Adjacent to La Casa will be the Resource Center that will house mentorship and internship programs and onsite academic advisors to provide career guidance and access to financial resources. La Casa, which currently houses 20 students, has the capacity to accommodate 100 eager students who meet the criteria. “Students who apply to La Casa must be at the undergraduate level working towards their first bachelor’s degree,” said Bucio. “It doesn’t matter if they are in a two-year or four-year institution, their intent must be to finish their bachelor’s degree. Students must be enrolled full-time and they have to be willing to live with a roommate.” The cost for a student to live at La Casa is $6,300 per academic year. However, Bucio, along with other staff members, will work with families to negotiate a price that fits their financial needs.

Located on 18th street, La Casa offers easy access to all major highways, CTA Pink Line, and several CTA bus routes and is within minutes from all major universities and colleges in the Chicagoland area. Applications are still being accepted. If you would like to learn more about La Casa or visit the facility, call La Casa at 312-666-1323 ext. 2400 or visit the website,

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