‘Serving my community is my passion’

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

Lawndale News Chicago's Bilingual Newspaper - Business

By: Ashmar Mandou

According to the Point in Time, (PIT), in January of 2017, nearly 6,000 people were identified as homeless in Chicago, a topic newly selected executive director Jose M. Muñoz knows all too well. As a young kid growing up on Chicago’s south side, Muñoz, along with his siblings, experienced homelessness as his mother held down several jobs. “Homelessness isn’t obvious at times because homelessness comes in different ways,” said Muñoz. “I, myself, didn’t know until much later in life. My mother worked hard to ensure my siblings and I had resources, but we did bounce from house to house. It was difficult. I went through a few rough patches, became a young father. However, as I got older I dedicated myself to serving my community who experience several obstacles and want better opportunities for them because serving my community is my passion.”

Muñoz brings a wealth of knowledge to La Casa Norte. A civic leader with more than 20 years’ experience in driving social impact through individual and community empowerment, Muñoz is poised to lead La Casa Norte as it grows to serve more of Chicago’s most vulnerable populations. Muñoz previously served as Vice President of External Affairs at Casa Central, one of the largest Latino serving social service agencies in the Midwest, where he was responsible for leading the organization’s sustainability and growth strategy, which included developing strategic partnerships with government, corporate and other social service agencies across the state of Illinois. Muñoz has also served as Chief Marketing Officer in the Illinois Governor’s Office and as Deputy Commissioner for the Chicago Department of Public Health.

“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Jose M. Muñoz to our team,” said Howard Hayes, President, La Casa Norte Board of Directors in a statement. “Jose is a respected leader with the foresight and experience to positively impact all of La Casa Norte’s clients and support us in our goal to ultimately eradicate homelessness.”

In choosing Muñoz to lead the organization, the Board noted his numerous strengths that made him stand out from other candidates, including an ability to build broad coalitions to address critical service issues while taking innovative and creative problem solving approaches. Muñoz not only brings to La Casa Norte a wealth of professional experience working in this space, but his own personal experience with homelessness.

“I am honored to be named Executive Director of La Casa Norte,” said Jose M. Mu ñ oz. “Serving marginalized residents throughout our city has always been a passion of mine, and I look forward to expanding the work of the organization to lift more of our youth and families out of homelessness.” In 2019, La Casa Norte provided housing and support services to over 4,500 youth, families, and individuals, as well as served 29,969 hot meals to Chicagoans experiencing homelessness. To address all the needs of those they serve, La Casa Norte also provides crisis intervention, therapy, employment support, case management, transportation assistance, advocacy, nutrition, and other services to support clients as they reach their goals.

Photo Caption: Jose M. Muñoz steps into role as executive director for La Casa Norte, an organization providing services to homeless youth and families.

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