Family of 8, including 6 children, live out of a van in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood

For many families in the Chicago area, finding a permanent place to live can be a real struggle.

Such is the case for Alicia, her partner and her six children ages 1 to 14. Since May 2023, the family says they have been living in their mini-van.

“This is our home right now,” Alicia told NBC Chicago as she showed a van parked in an empty lot in the city’s South Austin neighborhood. 

NBC Chicago reporter Sandra Torres first met the family after hearing from State Representative La Shawn Ford, who created a GoFundMe page to raise money for the family

Day and night, the family parks their mini-van in the empty lot. It’s not comfortable, especially at night, but Alicia said it’s their only choice to keep their kids safe.

“One person has to stay up while the other person watches our surroundings,” Alicia said. “The kids wake up on and off … they cant stretch much.”

Before the van became their home, the family lived with Alicia’s father. But back in May, her father passed away after what she said was a tragic attack.

“It was devastating… it was always me and my daddy.. before the kids,” said Alicia. “And while dealing with the loss of my daddy, we lost our place to live.”

Watch the news segment from NBC 5 Chicago and learn how BUILD is helping them in the process of finding a permanent home here.

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