Excellence in Counseling Innovation Award
Elizabeth (Liz) Caton
Northwest Side Housing Center
Elizabeth (Liz) Caton is described by her colleagues, partners and superiors as an inspiration, incredibly smart, a strong advocate and well-respected by all. Caton began her work at the Northwest Side Housing Center in 2004. During her tenure, she has provided clients with individual counseling related to pre- and post-purchase decisions, foreclosure prevention, rental options, reverse mortgages, home maintenance, refinancing and predatory lending. As a founding team member, Caton built the organization’s counseling program from the ground up by listening to the needs in the community, incorporating client feedback and using every opportunity to bring innovation and effectiveness to the program.
Caton has designed, implemented, evaluated and enhanced educational workshops in both English and Spanish, on topics ranging from homeownership, to foreclosure prevention, to budgeting and credit. To fund the program, she demonstrated ingenuity in securing more than 30 complementary grants. She also has forged partnerships with many organizations. The Illinois Housing Development Authority, the City of Chicago and Cook County all have specifically requested the assistance of Caton for foreclosure-outreach events, due to her expertise, demonstrated willingness to help, and rapport with homeowners and servicers. As a result, her organization has achieved a 75 percent success rate in helping homeowners keep their homes.