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Lake County United

Who We Are

Lake County United is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of civil society institutions: Churches, synagogues, mosques, civic and labor groups. Formed in April of 2003 our member organizations commit both dues and leaders (based on their size) to work for a just society through active citizenship. Our membership is growing and is open to all who share our goals.

As a broad based citizens organization we build relationships across Lake County, identify community concerns and needs and work together as a united power for human dignity, social justice and the greater good. In particular we encourage conversation across religious, ethnic, economic, generational, and political lines believing that it is possible to create a shared vision for the county. And we are realists about power: The ability to translate the hopes and interests of our members into action and results.

Lake County United Updates — December 2014

LCU Housing Team has established a blue print and finances for a 40 unit housing complex in Mundelein. Thanks to our relationship with Governor Quinn and the fact that Illinois' priority to house people who are inappropriately housed in nursing homes, but who could live independently, we obtained tax credits which will fund the development and construction of this housing. All of the units will be affordable and a portion will be designed for those with physical or mental disability. If all goes as planned, we will be breaking ground in the spring of 2015 which will be a fine celebration!

LCU Health Care Team is currently in the process of creating an overlay of maps to identify where free clinics, mental health services, hospitals, etc. are located in relationship to transportation lines and population centers of Lake County. The purpose of this project is to provide a visual presentation which shows who is able to access these resources based on location, and to whom resources are inaccessible.

LCU Mental Health Team has agreed upon a 2 part strategy to test whether there is enough interest to act in order to create the political will that is necessary to tackle issues related to mental illness. (Attached to this update is a list of scheduled research actions and listening sessions, along with an additional list of agencies that we are looking for leaders to step up and schedule).

Conduct an external analysis which involves research: meeting with dozens of people who are impacted by mental health, both experts and non- experts to gain further insight on the topic.

Conduct an internal analysis which involves leaders holding listening sessions at our member institutions around the matter of mental health. The ultimate goal is to identify new leaders and see if there is support within our institutions upon addressing this issue.

As a follow up to our Candidate Forum, LCU leaders are in the process of scheduling follow up meetings with; Sheriff Curran, County Board Member Cunningham,, Congressman Dold, and State Representative Mayfield.
Leaders evaluated the candidate forum and are planning a training on individual/ relational meeting with plns to go out and listen to residents in Waukegan.

Lake County United Updates — November 2014

A site, developer, blue print and finances have been established for a 40 unit housing complex in Mundelein. All of the units will be affordable and a portion will be designed for those with physical or mental disability.

In October Lake County United Leaders joined United Power in a meeting with Governor Quinn to discussed expanding affordable housing across the state, including increasing the capital budget for housing from $140 Million to $250 Million.

Our health care team completed their work with county health department which included conducting a survey on health issues in our institutions. After collecting over 1,700 surveys our data led us to find that a significant number of individuals and families are specifically impacted by mental health.

Our health care team is now doing research on access to mental health and plans to put together a presentation for our member institution. This will be an opportunity for people to talk about how their family or someone they know is impacted by this issue. The hope is to slowly begin to remove the shame associated with mental health and to gain the support that is necessary to take concrete action - including alternatives to jail and hospital, which have become the primary placement for mentally ill.

As many of you know, Waukegan to College (W2C) emerged out of LCU and is now its own organization serving over 75 kids and continually expanding. In addition to serving kids, they are teaching parents leadership skill through LCU and getting organized to address larger education related issues.

On October 26th the Waukegan Action Team of Lake Count United hosted a candidate forum with over 180 people attending along with congressional, state representatives, sheriff and county board candidates. Each candidate committed to work with Lake County United on a issues related to immigration, jobs, mental health, and education and to meet with us within the first 90 days, if elected.

Staff Changes: In May Amy Lawless Ayala took the position of Lead Organizer (Interim, part-time) and on Nov 1 Lindsay Crawford was hired as the associate organizer.