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Juan Rivera

July 13, 2010 by Daniel

“It’s better to focus all of your attention in a smaller area, that way you can have more impact on that area. You know how when you were a kid and you would play with a magnifying glass and point it at a piece of paper, but nothing would happen. However, if you took a ray of sunlight and concentrated it through the magnifying glass into one little corner of the paper you could really have some fun!” 

Juan Rivera, the executive director of Latin United Community Housing Association (LUCHA), has helped many low-income families in Humboldt Park find and maintain homes, as well as assisting them in times of financial difficulty. When Juan joined LUCHA 27 years ago, Humboldt Park was a grim neighborhood with a large number of abandoned buildings, fraudulent banks, and excessive crime. Juan recalls how Humboldt Park families were left to fend for themselves, being neglected by both insurance companies and banks. Juan and other LUCHA members decided to change this, starting by educating and aiding people on financial matters. LUCHA also influenced the banks in Humboldt Park into lending more money to the people who deposited and trusted their money to these banks in this neighborhood.

RAICES, LUCHA’s quarterly newsletter, informs the neighborhood residents of helpful workshops and other services LUCHA provides. Today, LUCHA still does what it first set out to do 28 years ago: taking action by organizing people in the community and finding ways to help them afford a roof over their heads. Over the years, LUCHA has built more than 150 units of housing in the neighborhood for low-income families.

“We will not be moved”

Juan believes that the work LUCHA has done is outstanding but that there is still more that needs to be done. LUCHA staff and volunteers and everyone else who make LUCHA possible will keep on working until things are the way they should be in Humboldt Park.