The Habitat Company was this year’s recipient of the Good Neighbor Award by The Cara Program, a Chicago-based charitable organization focused on helping individuals affected by homelessness and poverty through job training and coaching.
Since Habitat first partnered with The Cara Program in 2009, the company has employed 88 Cara students, and currently has a one-year retention rate of more than 76 percent. This is Habitat’s first time winning the Good Neighbor Award.
Matt Fiascone, president of The Habitat Company, accepted the award at a recent luncheon honoring employed Cara students and the corporate and community partners that have been instrumental in their success.
“We are so proud to be a part of the great work The Cara Program does for Chicago residents,” he said. “The partnership is truly a mutually beneficial relationship. Cara students are presented with a meaningful job opportunity and Habitat gains access to a pool of employees who have had best-in-class job training and demonstrated a commitment to working hard to achieve their goals. We see it as a win-win for both sides.”
With public housing units comprising more than one quarter of Habitat’s total units under management, the company has seen first-hand the challenges brought about by a lack of means and opportunity.
One Cara graduate who benefited from the program was Crystal Davis Owens, a current Habitat employee who was on hand at the ceremony. Owens was hired by Habitat in 2010 as an administrative assistant at the Lidia Pucinska Apartments, one of Habitat’s CHA-managed public housing communities. In just five years, she has risen through the ranks to her current role as property manager at a 357-unit CHA community on Chicago’s north side.
“I am so grateful to The Cara Program and Habitat for giving me the opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally, through training, hard work and dedication,” Owens said.