The COOL Family/Transitional Housing Program has been in operation since 1988. This program provides services and programs including life skills training along with rent and utilities paid homes for homeless families, many of whom are struggling single parents. COOL guest families benefit from the opportunity to complete educational training, secure better employment and save for first and last months’ rent or a down payment on a home. While living in COOL housing,  families will work with a case manager who will help to ensure that each family is financially stable and equipped for a long lasting transition to self-sufficiency upon leaving COOL.

Where are COOL Family Housing homes located?

COOL owns a 4 unit apartment building in the downtown Waukegan twhere 4 families live year round while they work on their goal of becoming self sufficient independent, working moms, dads and couples.  COOL also houses 2 families at a duplex home in the northern suburbs of Waukegan. Four more families are housed at two different sites in Zion, Illinois. All COOL Housing ‘guest”  families live in scattered sites throughout Waukegan and Zion.

No families are housed, sheltered, or receive housing services at 800 Glen Flora. That location is the home of only the COOL Food Pantry East and offices for COOL executive and support staff.

COOL's "Henderson House" was added in 2014

COOL's "Rady House" Founded in 1997

Recently expanded due to the donation of a new duplex from a generous donor, the COOL Family/Transitional Housing Program currently provides 10 housing units for struggling homeless. families who are eager to make a new beginning.   COOL Family Housing units include single family homes, duplex units and apartments for smaller families. Housing guests are selected from applications submitted to COOL on the basis of need, appropriateness for the program and availability of housing.

Homeless families accepted in the program should be employed full time, have a commitment to beginning a new life including establishing a savings  account, and a willingness to comply with program rules and guidelines.

Guests are referred to COOL by state and local government agencies, private programs, churches, and individuals. Anyone wishing to apply for COOL Family Housing can call (847) 662-1340 for an application form or download it here.

Since the Family Housing Program was initiated, over 200 families have graduated; Fifteen saved enough money while in the program to become first time home-buyers and many were single women with children. 85% of our guests have maintained independent living long after leaving the COOL program.

Although many families applying for help at COOL are single parents, the program accepts two parent households as well as single Mom’s and single Dad’s who are motivated to work hard to achieve self-sufficiency.

COOL receives funding from government grants, corporate and private foundations, and the United Way of Lake County. COOL also receives financial contributions from member churches and generous individuals.

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Transitional Housing Without HUD Funding


Since the late 1980’s the COOL Family/Transitional Housing Program has offered a new   beginning for parents with children who find themselves homeless with nowhere to turn. Over the years, this program has assisted nearly 250 families to move from poverty to  self-sufficiency.  While participating in the program COOL families receive structured case management, budgeting classes, constant monitoring, and learn to work and save money for the future. Many of our former participants are now living debt free lives. Some are homeowners, many have college degrees, own businesses and a surprising number find ways to give back to their own communities in order to help other struggling families to make a new life.

In a recent shift in priorities at the national level, HUD will no longer provide funding for the majority of our nation’s Transitional Housing Programs.  Instead, the new HUD priority is  funding immediate permanent housing for the homeless. With many years of experience we have seen that most of the families who are homeless lack the skills, education, resources and tools necessary to get themselves back on their feet, even if they are given a home, unless real change occurs within families. We know that transitional housing works because it requires residents to participate in life changing activities, opening bank accounts, working, budgeting, saving and more.

Fortunately for COOL Family Housing, HUD funding has historically been a very small part of our program. In fact, even though COOL will close 2 HUD-funded housing units effective   October 1st we will continue to operate our program with 10 transitional housing units at  scattered sites located throughout Waukegan and Zion.  While that is indeed good news, the downside is that both of the HUD-funded units scheduled to close are 3-bedroom homes. Without those units our program will have only 2-bedroom and 4-bedroom units.  Many applicants for our program include parents with two or three children.  For them, a 3 -bedroom is ideal whereas occupying a 2 bedroom simply won’t work, especially when the children are of mixed genders. Likewise, placing those families in a 4-bedroom unit would not make good use of available space.

In the upcoming year, we will look for new community partners, corporate grants and foundations willing to help us continue transforming lives and moving families from permanent reliance on government assistance and poverty to true self-reliance and self-sufficiency. In the meantime, we are thankful that COOL Transitional Housing will continue to be here to help  many families in the year ahead like our most recent program graduate.  During her stay at COOL she saved enough money to become a 1st time home buyer!

Thank you for helping COOL to feed the hungry & house the homeless!


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Addressing the Problem of Homelessness

& Poverty in Lake County

 Click Here to View  Video by Danger Geist

Happy Siblings -their parents are COOL Graduates!

Serving Lake and
McHenry Counties

Cllick here to Find and Review us on Google Maps!

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COOL Central Offices
800 W. Glen Flora Ave.
Waukegan IL 60085
Phone: 847.662.1340
Fax: 847-662-1255

Pantry East Waukegan
800 W. Glen Flora Avenue
Waukegan IL 60085

10:00 AM-2:00 PM
One Saturday per month 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
call 847.662.1230 for details
You must arrive 15 minutes prior to closing to receive food.


Pantry West Ingleside
25519 W. Highway 134
Ingleside IL 60041

Mondays: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Wednesdays: 10:00 AM-2:00 PM
One Saturday per month 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
call 847.270.0411 for details
You must arrive 15 minutes prior to closing to receive food


Family Housing Program
800 W. Glen Flora Avenue
Waukegan IL 60085
call 847.662-1340


Front Door Food Pantry East


Pantry West Sign in Ingleside



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Once Homeless-Now HomeOWNER

Click the House and read about our recent Housing Program Family.. They were Homeless but are now Home OWNERS!!