BlogCommunity Impact

Building Communities, One Home at a Time: The Impact of Affordable Housing

At YouthBuild Lake County (YBLC), we believe that a strong community is built from the ground up—literally. Since our inception, we’ve completed 11 affordable housing units through a mix of renovation and new construction, with a new project on Honore Street set to break ground soon. These homes are more than just buildings; they represent stability, opportunity, and growth for our community.


Affordable housing is a cornerstone of healthy communities. According to the National Low Income Housing Coalition, there’s a shortage of over 7 million affordable and available rental homes for extremely low-income households in the U.S. This gap leaves many families struggling to make ends meet, often forced to choose between paying rent and other necessities like food, healthcare, and education.

When affordable housing is available and families are allowed to find their financial footing, they are able to thrive. According to NLIHC, “increasing access to affordable housing is the most cost-effective strategy for reducing childhood poverty and increasing economic mobility in the United States”. When families have access to stable, affordable housing, they can focus on other crucial aspects of their lives, such as education and career advancement, leading to a more equitable society.

IMPACT #1: Lake County Families

In North Chicago and Lake County, Illinois, the need for affordable housing is a growing concern. Many families in our community face the daily challenge of securing a safe and affordable place to live. This is where YouthBuild Lake County steps in. Through our programming, we aim to address this pressing issue by building and rehabilitating homes that provide stability and hope for those in need.

Although we primarily serve young adults, our participants are, in turn, serving the community. By engaging in our housing projects, they not only learn valuable vocational skills but also contribute directly to the well-being of their neighbors.



The lives of the people living in the houses we build are not the only ones that are changed. Our members and local business owners also experience the impact of community-revitalizing projects like YBLC’s. Each housing project serves as a catalyst for change, empowering individuals and strengthening the local economy.

IMPACT #2: YBLC Participants

In terms of direct impact, our participants have the most visible change. Each construction site serves as a training ground where our participants gain valuable hands-on experience in various trades. This real-world training equips them with the skills needed to secure lifelong careers in fields such as carpentry, plumbing, electrical work, and HVAC.

Our participants don’t just build houses; they build their futures. By working on these projects, they gain confidence, develop a strong work ethic, and learn the importance of teamwork and responsibility. The skills they acquire are not just technical but also include problem-solving, leadership, and project management, which are crucial for their personal and professional growth.

These experiences empower them to break the cycle of poverty and achieve economic independence. At YBLC, we believe that every young person has the power to succeed and create a better life for themselves and their families with access to the right resources and support system. These projects serve as one of those resources to our participants, giving them the opportunity to learn, develop, and find a passion for a future career in the trades.


IMPACT #3: Local Business Owners (and YBLC Alumni!)

Our affordable housing projects also play a crucial role in revitalizing the North Chicago economy. By engaging local contractors, we ensure that the economic benefits of our projects stay within the community. This collaboration creates jobs, supports local businesses, and fosters economic growth.

A prime example of this is Juan, a graduate of our 2006 HVAC cohort. Today, Juan runs his own successful HVAC company and has been contracted to work on our latest project, breaking ground this summer. Not only will he be designing the entire HVAC system for the home, but he said that he is looking to hire a YBLC participant to join his team upon completion of the project! Juan’s journey from a YouthBuild participant to a business owner and participant employer exemplifies the transformative power of our training programs.

The ripple effect of these projects extends far beyond the immediate impact on our participants. When local contractors like Juan are hired for our projects, they not only gain business but also contribute to the broader economic health of the area. These contractors often reinvest their earnings into their businesses and communities, creating a cycle of economic activity that benefits everyone. As these businesses grow, they can hire more employees, many of whom might be YouthBuild graduates themselves, further extending the impact.



Juan, graduate of YBLC’s 2006 HVAC program. His company will be contracted on YBLC’s new build.

As we prepare to break ground on our newest project, we are excited about the continued impact we’ll have. This site will not only provide a safe, affordable home for a family in need but also serve as a training ground for our participants, a business opportunity for local contractors, and a beacon of hope for the community.

Each new project reinforces our commitment to holistic community development. The training our participants receive not only prepares them for successful careers but also instills a sense of pride and accomplishment, knowing they’ve contributed something tangible and lasting to their community.

Building communities one home at a time is at the heart of what we do at YouthBuild Lake County. Through our affordable housing projects, we provide stability, education, and economic growth. As we look to the future, we remain committed to our mission, knowing that each home we build is a step towards a more resilient community.