Emmanuel House & Bryan House

In April 2018, Emmanuel House merged with the Joseph Corporation to become The NEIGHBOR PROJECT—a move that increased its ability to help families by more than ten fold.  Read more HERE, visit The Neighbor Project website (where there’s an introductory Video on the landing page), and watch executive director Rick Guzman’s talk “Every Person’s God-Given Ability to Contribute.”  There’s no better place than this talk to learn more about The Neighbor Project’s work and its vision for all our communities.

The Neighbor Project helps hard-working families >Get out of Debt, >Save, and >Buy Homes so they can be full participants in creating better neighborhoods for all of us.  It strengthens a city’s biggest asset: the people who already live there.

TNP-Logo1Look below for the next big event at The Neighbor Project, including its annual fundraising gala.

We’ll keep chronicling the history of Bryan House and Emmanuel House after the double amber lines below, but this merger and new name allows us to be better at breaking cycles of poverty and disadvantage.  I speak below of helping 25 families out of poverty but being poised to “double, triple, or quadruple that number.  The quadruple, 100 families, has long been reached and now thousands of families—yes, thousands—is now clearly in sight.  And the “HERE” link above takes you to an article explaining that the Emmanuel House name, though no longer primary, will always be with us and memorialized in official ways.  Like Bryan House and Emmanuel House before it, THE NEIGHBOR PROJECT builds economic stability, reduces poverty and our nation’s terrible, and growing, wealth gap.  It helps creates stronger communities for all of us through home ownership, education, and greater civic engagement.  The Neighbor Project video above and the “How It Works” video below explain this in more detail.






* Read a short follow up of the 2022 gala and watch a video Here.

* Watch “Flipping the Hero Script” for a message central to The Neighbor Project’s 2021 gala.  Outdoors, inspirational, and with a great music headliner.

* Watch highlights from The Neighbor Project’s 2020 Virtual Gala, Light Up the Night.

* Rent Assistance Program.  This link takes you to a video of Rick Guzman and U.S. Representative Lauren Underwood discussing the program.  The Neighbor Project was one of 24 organizations the State of Illinois chose to partner with to help deliver help to families.

* Go Here for an article and VIDEO of The Neighbor Project’s first Gala Fund Raiser, held May 11, 2019.

* Go Here for an article and VIDEO of the December 30, 2018, event:  The “Wizard of Oz” Fund Raiser at the Paramount Theater, Aurora.

* Go Here for an article and VIDEO of the April 2018 gala at just the time Emmanuel House became The Neighbor Project.  Video features moments from Danny Gokey’s private concert for our supporters.




Emmanuel House logo

EMMANUEL  HOUSE serves the working poor, helping to disrupt cycles of poverty through home ownership, higher education, service, and equitable development. Currently we help around 25 families lift themselves out of poverty every 18-24 months, but with your help are poised to double, triple, or quadruple that number.

(See first Headline below.)


 VISIT the EMMANUEL HOUSE WEBSITE… (now fully integrated into The Neighbor Project’s site). Get involved, Donate, Invest.  Help bring generational change to hundreds of people.  Bryan House started by helping five families, Emmanuel House around 30, but The Neighbor Project now helps around 3,000 families and individuals and is poised for much more.

 LEARN OUR HISTORY & CONCEPT BELOW…  Find out How It Works, and link to Videos, Articles, Booklet, Websites.

ATTEND OUR EVENTS …  Next:   MAY 15th – Paramount Theater, Aurora, 5:30 – 7:00.  We unveil the new “Emmanuel House,” which has now merged with a long-allied organization. The merger doubles or triples our reach. More HERE.


Classy2EMMANUEL HOUSE NAMED ONE OF THE TOP 100 Most Innovative social change organizations in the world.
Read about it HERE!

Emmanuel House animationWatch a video animation about How It Works: It explains our basic strategy and how home ownership builds strong communities and a greater stability leading to educational success.

Khais Story 2bThis video, “Khai’s Story,” puts a human face on our basic strategy.  See how one family changed its life and built a hopeful community around them as it did.

Emmanuel House ribbon cuttingWatch a video of the Grand Opening of the new Emmanuel House/World Relief headquarters, a giant step in helping these two organizations do even more.

Eddie Yoon invests with Emmanuel House

Invest through Emmanuel House. Watch a video of Eddie Yoon explaining how and why he’s investing his money with us.  Go Here for details. Click on “Invest.”

My colleague Dr. Stephen Maynard Caliendo in a video about disrupting cycles of poverty.  This video was first shown at the 7th Annual Emmanuel House Dinner/Auction.



EMMANUEL HOUSE and BRYAN HOUSE were both started by Dr. Guzman’s eldest son, Rick, and his wife Desiree, in memory of Dr. Guzman’s youngest son Bryan Emmanuel Guzman  (1985-2006).  Bryan House came first, focusingBryan House on reclaiming hope for war-torn refugee families.  It will continue this refugee focus, but as its mission grew it became part of a larger organization, Emmanuel House, now with multiple sites, working with ALL the working class poor it can to help break endemic cycles of poverty.  Recently, Dick Durbin and Rick GuzmanU.S. Senator Dick Durbin—seen at left with Rick Guzman—came to Emmanuel House’s Claim St. site to see its innovative approach to community development.  The first video listed below chronicles the event.  Emmanuel—“God with us”—was Bryan’s middle name.

SEE BELOW for the Emmanuel House Website and for Videos, newspaper Articles, and a memorial Booklet.

√ HOW IT  WORKS:  Qualified families stay at one of our Emmanuel House sites.  They pay rent, but because of our supporters, most of that rent can be invested and returned to them after an 18-24 month stay.  Because of these savings they often also qualify for other grants and monies, and all of these can be used on only two things: a down payment on their first home, or college funds for their children.  Emmanuel House also partners with other organizations to deliver such things as financial planning and home ownership education to families.  (See first item under HEADLINES above: a video animation showing How It Works—and why.)

√ HOME OWNERSHIP  &  EDUCATION:  These two are among the best ways to lift families out of the cycles of poverty that often trap them.  They commit to neighborhoods, staying 4x longer than the average.  Their children are 25% more likely to finish high school, and an astonishing 116% more like to graduate from college.  Helping these families results in better communities for EVERYONE.

√ YOU CAN HELP BRING  GENERATIONAL  CHANGE to hundreds of people.  Support Emmanuel House and Bryan House with your donations.  Various support levels start at just $20 a month, which supports a family for one day.  Or invest in real estate with us.  (Go to the Emmanuel House website for more information.)  Volunteer to tutor, build, clean, and work on special projects like the Annual Emmanuel House/Bryan House Silent Auction.  Spread the word about these organizations and Attend their fundraisers and other events.

emmanuel House, Claim St. siteContact us with partnership ideas The video below of Senator Durbin’s visit to the Claim St. Emmanuel House site (pictured at left) highlights how important partnership is to us.

Churches, businesses, community organizations (like the Joseph Corporation, the Dunham Fund, Aurora Family Focus, World Relief, Quad Cities Urban League), and government at all levels (city, state, federal)—all must work together to create great communities.

— Links below go live when material becomes available —



    • Find out more, donate, invest, and get involved by visiting the Emmanuel House Community Development Corporation’s website: www.EmmanuelHouse.org
    • Watch this website for calls to action, news, and posts like “The Widow’s Mite,” which shows how every contribution can add up to big impact.  (See more related posts at the end of this page.)
    • Read Stories of Hope (currently being retrieved from the old Bryan House website) about the first refugee families Bryan House served.  There have been many more stories since: for example, “Khai’s Story” above.  Or click on the “With liberty” link below under “Read Articles” for the story of the Hasan family, pictured below.

Bryan House - Hasan family


    • Sen. Dick Durbin visits Emmanuel House
    • Danny Gokey Benefit Concert: “Hope Is A Home”
    • NBC news report on Bryan House
    • Peter Hoffman’s photos of Bryan House/Emmanuel House
    • Student Service at North Central College (one highlight is an Emmanuel House project)
    • “Hallelujah.”  Leonard Cohen’s famous song performed by KEVIN PRCHAL & DAN GUZMAN at the Bryan House Garden Dedication. Kevin also led an all-star lineup of Chicago musicians (including Daniel) in a memorial performance of “Hallelujah” at the iconic Metro shortly after the 1st Anniversary of Bryan’s death.
    • “Peace Not War.”  DAN GUZMAN joins KEVIN PRCHAL at the Bryan House Garden Dedication for this rendition of Kevin’s song.
    • 2011 Auction.  A short video of the 5th Annual Emmanuel House / Bryan House Silent Auction. Use headphones or plug in to hear some of Bryan’s great bass playing.
    • Putting the 2012 Auction Together, PLUS 2012 Thank You video and update.
    • 2013 Service Time at Emmanuel House (Also, watch this other 3-minute video on North Central College’s Cornerstone Weekend.  The last third of it focuses on this time of service).
    • Sedona, Arizona.  A video on the Guzman’s condo in Sedona: one of the items you can bid on each November at the Emmanuel House/Bryan House Silent Auction.
    • 2018 Emmanuel House Gala.  This was by far Emmanuel House’s most successful fund raiser.  It was also the last of the Emmanuel House dinner/auctions, but hardly the end of the Emmanuel House vision…. Our condo will also continue to be an item in future fund raisers for THE NEIGHBOR PROJECT.

READ ARTICLESAmong the many we’ve been blessed with…

    • Seeds of change” by Nancy Strunk Kirby
    • With liberty and justice for all” by Stephanie Lulay
    • Charity has beginning at this Aurora Home” by Jenette Sturges
    • Durbin visits Emmanuel House” by Stephanie Lulay
    • Revitalizing LaSalle St. in Aurora” by Stephanie Lulay
    • Gardening and social change” (North Central College website)
    • “Brother lost, mission found” by Peter Hoffman
    • For the love of Bryan” by Susan Frick Carlman
    • “In memory of Bryan” by Michele DuVair
    • “A Union of Remembrance” by Victoria Elliott
    • Giving refugees hope, and a place to call home” by Greg Canfield.
    • Bryan E. Guzman.  This is where it all started: a memorial for a wonderful young man.  Bryan had just turned 21.

Pictured below: Bryan House—the original house
of now-multiple Emmanuel House sites.

Bryan House

Remembering Bryan: Thoughts and Memories from Friends and FamilyDOWNLOAD BOOKRemembering Bryan was released at the 5th Annual Emmanuel House-Bryan House Silent Auction to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Bryan’s death.  Remember, or meet for the first time, the one whose life inspired the creation of Emmanuel House and Bryan House.


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