“Giving of ourselves now, we are shaping the future, creating the change we want to see and igniting the pioneering spirit in others”
Simply put, Jasna Ostojich is a powerful woman. She is powerful in character. Her drive and determination have lead her to doing something so extraordinary that her life’s work shall forever mark the history of the people’s lives she has touched. And that is a great many. She wants nothing in return, only to have the vision of UpLifting Lives become a reality for everyone.
“Besides personal cherished events with family and dear friends, and the merger of Steven Coté’s visions and innovative solutions with my experiences, my defining moments are marked by satisfaction and personal sense of accomplishment when I am able to help individuals and families have a decent life. When I was working with single mothers in urban areas, finding housing for homeless veterans...and helping refugees of foreign wars find housing and social service benefits while resettling in America - these events have left an impression on my life. I realized how important clean and appropriately priced housing was to having a decent life. It provides dignity.
“I have been in the Real Estate Industry for over 25 years. Working with people in high-end areas and in transitional areas across our diversified Chicagoland, a realization was made. All people want to have decent homes, a place to raise their families, and to enjoy their life. People are at all kinds of stages in their life; some want to rent, some want to own. Traditionally, rentals that are available for most demographic groups included very low quality apartments.
“This energized me to create a program to help people. How do we determine who can have a house and who cannot? By income. We have been told by reports that we have to be responsible when applying for a mortgage, we have to pay our debts and then we will be rewarded by being able to get a mortgage for 30 years putting us in debt bondage and putting our children into the same servitude to debt. Being closely involved in Real Estate, construction, and multi-family rental unit management, I saw that people look to professionals and to banks to help them get ahead and live their dream the way they envision it...
“People have been exploited and taken advantage of for the short term interest gain of many entities. I strongly disagree with the reports of how many people have gotten mortgages they could not afford and that this is the reason why the Housing market had turned and the Foreclosure crisis has happened. Some families are working so hard and they still cannot stay ahead of the debt burden that had been imposed on them. When you look at all the unfair and unregulated practices of the institutions who have been allowed to get away with taking advantage of the public, it makes you question it. No one spoke for the people, they have no voice, just enormous amounts of debt and responsibility to pay it. We will change this with UpLifting Lives.
“My vision is to empower individual people to create their own financially independent life. You do not have to have external institutions direct your financial life, you too can take control of how you live. The driving force is the fact that people can have nice, decent homes. What if through Innovative Housing Counseling renters and buyers alike can be shown how to get their life on a path of independence from debt, from Foreign oil use and from Expensive energy consumption and actually be able to profit at the end, while living a healthy clean life? What if we reduced the cost of operating a home and included the transportation factor and made the price of owning or renting reachable for most people?
“UpLifting lives is a mission and a vision that drives me every day to help people live a better life. A better life that includes a new home, designed in the style that you want, fitting into the budget that you have, and choosing the kind of amenities that you want. My vision is to have people live in healthy clean homes that include new alternative fuel transportation and utilities in the home. What I mean by that is to have a micro-Energy Cube in every home that allows you to choose the kind of energy you want to use, how much, and when to use public utilities. You can then switch back to producing your own energy. The transportation aspect is the ability to drive a nice modern electric car like BMW, or Cadillac or other models being made. It is about offering people choices they never had until now, and it is 100% achievable. We want to change that in a meaningful way with dignity and honesty. Everything we do is transparent. We work on the open books system. All is open for the public.”
Steven Paul Coté
For decades, Steven had been inspired to rebuild neighborhoods and communities when he would see dilapidated structures. He became affected by seeing tenants being taken advantage of in both public and private sector housing. Wanting to do something to alleviate these issues, Steven’s pioneering spirit guided him. He needed an organization in which he wanted to feel like he would be “bending history.” While working with Chairwoman Jasna Ostojich, and discussing her organization’s ideas, UpLifting Lives became the outlet for Steven’s visionary work.
Having a deeply rooted passion in architecture, construction, and engineering, Steven’s interests took on an even deeper meaning and purpose while assessing the damage in hurricane devastated areas. He created high-performance temporary to permanent housing solutions for victims of Hurricane Katrina and other Nationally Declared Federal Disaster Areas.
After witnessing the aftermath of foreclosures across American cities, he realized that living in custom homes was becoming an unreachable dream for many. Steven knew he could make an imprint on society. Through his revolutionary leadership with teams of architects and engineers, crafting his own bending of history, Steven began to build his legacy.
“I know I can make an instrumental change to the world by helping enable North America to become Energy Independent. We are not providing houses, we are providing homes; people and families live in homes. By enhancing neighborhoods and using alternative energy, renewable energy and micro-generation in custom homes and structures, we give people hope. This is much more than just providing houses…it’s enabling the demography to become micro-PRODUCERS of energy, not just consumers. That is the key.”
We want to thank all the people who gave of their efforts and supported our vision and the interns who gave their time and contributed their creativity and passion towards bringing our mission to life.