As Home Market Stabilizes, Housing Counselors Change Focus

Excerpts from an article by the Institute for Housing Studies at DePaul University

…At the Chinese American Service League (CASL) in Chicago’s Chinatown, foreclosure work has plummeted “dramatically,” said Ben Lau, manager of housing and financial education. His clients are beginning to enter the market, often looking for bargains among foreclosed stock…

…Credit building is the biggest challenge for Lau’s clients, many of whom are new immigrants who have little or no credit or documented income. “When they go to see mortgage specialists in banks, they have to provide at least two years of income,” he said. “There are a number of existing bank projects that can help clients build credit, but for some you have to deposit at least $500.” 

CASL, in partnership with Mission Asset Fund, helps clients form lending circles, where each member need contribute as little as $50 a month. Each month one member is permitted to withdraw a loan to help build credit history…

…In addition to prepurchase help, the agency provides rental assistance. That department has experienced an uptick in requests recently, Lau said. CASL is among the many organizations that have begun to focus on low-income renters, including many affected by the foreclosure crisis, Legenza said…


CASL will Walk to End Alzheimer’s


From Esther Wong, CASL Executive Director and Co-Founder:

In 2015, one in three seniors died from Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia. Unfortunately, Alzheimer’s disease is the only leading cause of death in America that cannot be prevented, cured, or slowed down.

Since last year, CASL has been collaborating with Alzheimer’s Association Greater Illinois Chapter to help raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in the Chinese community and assist CASL in building capacity to better support people with Alzheimer’s disease and their caregivers.

Alzheimer’s Association will launch an annual Walk to End Alzheimer’s on Sunday, September 27, 2015, at Chicago Montrose Harbor. We have formed Team CASL to join the Walk to End Alzheimer’s. We are going to have a special “Kickoff Event” at the Grand Hall on Thursday, July 23, 2015 from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The purpose of this event is to encourage CASL staff to join Team CASL in the Walk and raise awareness of Alzheimer’s disease in the Chinese community.

Unite in a movement to reclaim the future for millions! Join our team for the Alzheimer’s Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s, the nation’s largest event to raise awareness and funds to fight Alzheimer’s disease. Together we can advance research to treat and prevent Alzheimer’s, and provide programs and support to improve the lives of millions of affected Americans. I encourage everyone to find some time to come to this special event, and to show support to Alzheimer’s Association and CASL!

At the Kickoff event, a short program will be held from noon to 1:00 p.m. Afterwards, there will be three CASL fundraising activities: Food Sale, Photo Booth, and a Rummage Sale (Please donate your unused treasures to May Wai of In-Home Service). The Walk proceeds will go to Alzheimer’s Association, and all the proceeds from the kickoff activities will go to CASL’s general fund.

At last, I would like to thank the following special committee members from the Elderly Services Department to make this event possible, Yick Lun Mo, Cindy Chan, Eliza Chan, Fanny Ho, Bo Young Ma, and May Wai.

Again, thank you for your support! I look forward seeing you at the kickoff event on 7/23/2015!

Healthy Earth, Healthy Us!

FCS Outreach - Healthy Earth Healthy Us

CASL’s Family & Community Services took part in Haines School’s “Healthy Earth – Healthy Us” program as part of our Community Health Outreach. CASL staff shared bilingual flyers and brochures on All Kids, Medicaid, SNAP (Food Stamp), WIC, Asthma, Hepatitis B, Diabetes Management, Illinois Breast and Cervical Cancer Program (IBCCP), and explained to parents the different health programs and resources.

CASL translates health information to Chinese, and continues to educate the Chinese community on various health matters and resources.

Family & Community Services strengthen the physical and mental well-being of individuals and families, helping clients transition into American society while maintaining their own culture. For more information, please contact manager Ivy Siu at