A Place To Call Home

housingactionil1986

The seeds of change are found in everyday experience. The stories of people who live in supportive housing can shed light on important issues, such as what it is like to experience homelessness or live with mental illness or a disability. Because of this, during 2019, the Supportive Housing Providers Association (SHPA) and Housing Action Illinois partnered to bring a series of five workshops to help residents of permanent supportive housing explore telling stories to make a difference. The stories in this publication grew out of the workshops, and we are grateful to everyone whose experiences are shared in these pages. Together, we can build a more understanding, compassionate world.

Our thanks to the Illinois Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund for making this collaboration possible.

A P L A C E T O

C A L L H O M E

S T O R I E S F R O M

S U P P O R T I V E H O U S I N G R E S I D E N T S

S U P P O R T I V E H O U S I N G P R O V I D E R S A S S O C I A T I O N

H O U S I N G A C T I O N I L L I N O

1

I S


© 2019 Supportive Housing Providers Association and Housing Action Illinois.

All rights reserved. Any use of materials in this manual, including production,

modification, or distribution without prior written consent is strictly prohibited.


For everyone who is, or has been, without a place to call home.


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CONTENTS

Foreword 7

Allison - Chicago 9

Béjor - Hillside 10

Brenda - Chicago 12

Cecil - Hillside 14

Charles - Rockford 16

Cheryl - Peoria . 18

Cleveland - Hillside 20

Darius - Mt. Vernon 22

Dean - Rockford 24

Donna - Mt. Vernon 27

Holly - Mt. Vernon 29

Laura - Chicago 32

Marketta - Chicago 35

Patrick - Chicago 36

Stanley - Hillside 39

Steve - Peoria 41

T. Bryant - Peoria 42

Taj - Hillside 44

Acknowledgments 46

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I

want to share my story to

help someone in need

be of help or encouragement to others and myself

help others who are going through hardships know that they’re not alone

help someone else in the same situation

help at least one person

share the resources we have

prevent it from happening to someone else

save someone

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FOREWORD

Storytelling for Change

What is something about you, or something that you’ve experienced, that

not many people understand?

We asked this question at the beginning of each workshop in our

Storytelling for Change initiative. Our participants answered in all

kinds of ways, sharing experiences with mental illness, domestic

violence, incarceration, and much more. What they all had in common

was something that the broader public usually finds very difficult to

understand: everyone had experienced homelessness.

Today, our storytellers are all living in permanent supportive housing,

which combines affordable housing assistance with voluntary support

services designed to build independent living and tenancy skills and

connect people with community-based health care, treatment and

employment services.

We brought these individuals together for a series of storytelling

workshops in 2019 because we believe that the seeds of change are

found in everyday experience—and in sharing both everyday and

extraordinary experiences with others. The stories of people who live in

supportive housing can shed light on important issues, such as what it is

like to experience homelessness or live with mental illness or a disability.

During the year, we traveled around the state to facilitate storytelling

workshops for supportive housing residents in Mt. Vernon, Peoria,

Rockford, Hillside, and Chicago. We discussed how stories can shape

understanding and bring about change. After talking about narrative

techniques that help shape stories, we practiced writing and speaking

about our lives, sharing both the good and the bad. Everyone in the room

became a teacher as they shared their experiences and hopes.

The stories in this publication grew out of the workshops, and we are

grateful to everyone whose experiences are shared in these pages.

Together, we can build a more understanding, compassionate world.

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ALLISON

Hillside workshop

“The things I’ve

accomplished by

being housed are

so awesome!”

What housing means to me: I look at it as making me a better person. The

things that I have accomplished by being housed are so awesome! Before I

was housed, I was a homeless mother of three, living from house to house,

sleeping in houses that maybe a friend or family moved out of until the

landlord asked us to leave. I was eating out of the garbage or waiting for

people to finish eating so that we could eat. I slept on trains and on buses.

Now, looking at my life…what a long road! Now I’m

here, sitting on a few boards, working with AAMC,

UIC, Mile Square Health, and Science Center. I am

a Speak UP! Advocate through CSH.

“What a

long road!”

I have been in my own apartment for nine years. I wake up everyday with

a smile on my face and thank God and supportive housing programs

for this life that I’m living now—no more sleeping on the train, bus, on

the streets, or in outdoor bathrooms. I have a good relationship with my

family, and I have friends.

I help people like myself find housing. I started a Christmas giveaway

for mothers with mental illness, as well as a program where we pass

out coats, hats, and gloves to the homeless. These are just some of the

things that I do now. I want to say thank you to two very important

organizations: Thresholds, for saving my life; and CSH, for teaching me

about housing and why it is so important to be housed first. To them I

say thank you, and thank you all so much for listening to my story!

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BÉJOR

Chicago workshop

“It’s been healing,

and restorative in

its own way. I’ve

learned so much

about myself,

about the world,

about what I want,

what I need.”

I’m lying in my bed, in a room—not my bedroom, the dining room. I

haven’t done anything all day.

What I want to do, I can’t speak of, and I don’t want to fathom it. What

I need to do, I don’t understand. But what I am doing is getting closer to

death.

The dining room is the very next room to the kitchen, where the knives are.

And right now, cutting my throat doesn’t seem so hard, not so bad.

But the sound of my mother’s despair against my sister’s comforting words

is causing me so much pain.

“I gave myself an

ultimatum. I was

either going to kill

myself or I was

going to leave.”

Thinking about how my family would

feel if I committed suicide was the only

thing keeping me from doing it. It was

obviously very powerful, because if

I decided I didn’t care how they felt,

I was going to do it. I gave myself an

ultimatum. I was either going to kill

myself or I was going to leave.

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And it’s not like my family was horrible. They weren’t horrible, but they

weren’t the best. It was a toxic environment, but it could have been much

worse, is what I’m saying.

I packed five bags and hid them under my bed. I remember sitting on

my bed, so anxious and so scared, so afraid, wondering, “What do I do

next?” And then I heard my mother coming in from work at 7 or 8 pm,

and I knew I had to go. Because if I saw my mother’s face—and if she saw

my face—she’d know what was going on. That something’s not right.

As she was coming in the front door, I was leaving out the back door. I

had five bags with me. I was 19. The bags were heavy, so I was walking

slow. I heard her coming out of the back door and she was calling my

name. I started to run.

I went downtown and I stayed there for a

couple of weeks. I was sitting in McDonald’s, in

alleys. I think I went to my dad’s for a little bit.

Long story short, me deciding to leave my

home was probably the best decision I ever

could have made for myself. Not only because

I didn’t kill myself, but because it has given me

the space to be away from my family, who was

causing my pain. Space to be away from that

toxic environment.

“I had

five bags

with me.

I was 19.”

It’s been healing, and restorative in its own way. I’ve learned so much

about myself, about the world, about what I want, what I need. And I

don’t think I would’ve been able to do that in such a short time period if I

would’ve stayed at home.

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BRENDA

Chicago workshop

“I want people

to know that

when someone

is experiencing

homelessness,

something

happened in their

life that led to this.”

For eleven years, I worked as a real estate agent in Chicago and the

Western Suburbs. I was proud of my work. I helped many first-time

buyers find the home of their dreams and enjoyed helping people make

decisions that were good for them and their families.

“I walked away

from everything

I knew, including

my home, and I

began sleeping

on commuter

trains.”

But in 2006, I became overwhelmed. I

walked away from everything I knew,

including my home, and I began sleeping

on commuter trains. One day, while I was

on the train, a police officer noticed me

and brought me to Madden Mental Health

Hospital. There, an outreach worker from

Thresholds asked what I needed, and I

shared that I had lost everything and now

hoped for housing and an income. After

a short stay at Madden, I moved into a

transitional housing program.

Three months later, I moved into a supportive housing apartment

operated by Thresholds in Rowan Trees Apartments. While there, I

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participated in a support group and worked with a counselor on a path

to recovery. It was very helpful to have someone to talk to about what

happened to me, and to process these events for myself and with the

caring of others. Thresholds was supportive in every way.

In 2012, I moved on from supportive housing. I currently live in an

affordable unit on the West Side, not far from where I grew up. Today,

I may not have enough money in my pocket to financially help others,

but I want to help by fundraising for resources for people facing

homelessness.

I also want to change the public perception regarding homelessness. I

want people to know that when someone is experiencing homelessness,

something happened in their life that led

to this. It is not because they are lazy; some

kind of tragedy or trauma often leads to

homelessness. I recently graduated from the

CSH Speak UP! program and now tell my story

as an advocate for more supportive housing and

to help others feel less alone in their struggles.

“I tell my story as

an advocate for

more supportive

housing and to

help others feel

less alone in their

struggles.”

Brenda shares her story at a Speak UP! event in Chicago

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CECIL

Hillside workshop

I was abandoned by my mom when I was

14, in Jacksonville. Florida was completely

out of my league; I’m from Indiana.

One year earlier, my mom and dad got divorced. Back then, if you were

13 or under, you had to stay with mom. If you were 14 and over, you could

go with dad. I was 13, I stayed with my mom. She moved all the way to

Hollywood, Florida. We were there about six months, but she didn’t like it.

She decided we were going back to Indiana. On our way, we stopped in

Jacksonville, Florida, to go to the convenience store and get some lunch—

meat and bread and chips. There was a little picnic table, so we sat out there

to make sandwiches, and my mom says she’s gonna be right back. She

walked around the corner to the store, and I didn’t think anything about it.

Twenty minutes passed. I started to wonder, where’s she at? So I walked

around the corner and see no car. Then I walked into the store and asked

the guy in the store. He says, “Oh, she left.” I said, “Where’d she go?” And

he said, “Oh, she got in that car.”

And right then, that’s how I got left. I didn’t want to go to the authorities,

because I thought they might put me in one of them foster homes. I was

14—I would have had to stay until I was 18. I didn’t know what to do. Talk

about struggling—14 years old and being on the streets. But I can’t blame

my mom for any of the things that I turned to, as far as the drinking and

the drugs over the years. I ain’t done drugs in a while, but I still got to get

over the alcohol.

“I got a good job

and worked at

Caterpillar tractor

for 23 years. I

was married for

21 years.”

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“I was abandoned

by my mom when

I was 14.”

I got a job when I was 16. Later, I met a

lovely lady and moved to Illinois. By the

grace of God, I got a good job and worked

at Caterpillar tractor for 23 years. I was

married for 21 years. Got sober for four

and a half. I relapsed back in ‘97. I went

to prison for three years. My wife finally

divorced me, said, “I’ve had enough of this.”


Prison basically ruined my life, cause I’m never gonna get a job. I fell to

addiction, being an alcoholic, homeless. I said I’m not gonna do good work

no more, I’m gonna enjoy my life while I’m young. So that’s why I traveled.

If you’re homeless, it’s hard not to get up and drink every day. I was still

going to my church then, and one day my pastor said, “Hey, it’s only eight

o’clock in the morning, how many beers have you had?” and I go, “About

three?” But they were 24-ounce beers, so the real answer was about six.

I knew if I go over to PADS, I’m not gonna get in, because I’ve got alcohol

on my breath. I would always sleep outside; I had my little cubbyhole. It

ain’t the people you got to worry about rooting around, it’s the animals!

Boy, they don’t take no for an answer. Raccoons, skunks. Raccoons are the

worst. They’re mean. If they smell booze, they’re gonna try everything they

can to get in your bag. They’ll follow you all night.

One day, I was ready to get my bus ticket and go back to Arizona—the

weather was getting colder, it was August. But I was called by one of the

girls working for PADS out of Wheaton who said, “We got an apartment

for you.” One of the other girls took me

to the apartment and said, “Does it meet

your standards?” And I said, “Lady, I

been sleeping in a parking lot or outside

for eight and a half years.”

And it’s great. You know, I’m still

struggling with alcohol. I got a great case

manager, Kimberly, she’s a wonderful

lady. Willing to do anything, help with

anything, all I gotta do is ask. That’s my

problem, I don’t ask for anything, just

like I don’t ask for help with drinking,

I don’t ask for help. I’ll do my own

panhandling and get my own money.

“She said, ‘Does

it meet your

standards?’ And

I said, ‘Lady, I

been sleeping in

a parking lot or

outside for eight

and a half years.”

I haven’t been in the apartment even a year yet. At first, I actually told

Kimberly, I want to move out. I’m so used to living outside. She taught me

to stay in. She gives me all kinds of projects to do, sends me to classes, says

pick two a week. I go to a lot of meetings, programs. I think when someone

speaks, everyone in the room can get something out of that. You always

get something.

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CHARLES

Rockford workshop

My name is Charles, and I am a

member of the Carpenter’s Place

Permanent Housing Program in

Rockford, Illinois. I’m sharing a

story of hope and recovery.

“I’m sharing a

story of hope

and recovery.”

My journey in life began as a typical child, except for some things; what

I thought would be only minor setbacks growing up, perhaps emotional

problems or a few tantrums. Little did I know that soon, these kind of

problems would alter my life in ways that I never thought possible.

There was a time when mental illness was something that could be

addressed with a limited amount or number of medications to experiment

with; not to mention that awareness of this disease was also limited. As a

teenager I began what is known as trying to medicate one’s self.

Not being completely aware of the implications, this of course led me

down a path of a worsening condition: addiction. Now, at this point,

I’ve had many “ups and downs,” such as having spent time in rehab, jail,

institutions.

I decided to look into the “probable causes” of such a horrible curse. I

brought myself to a mental health center to seek some answers. I was

diagnosed with Bipolar, as well as drug addiction or whatever might

constitute being a drug addict. At least I had some insight now.

“There were times

when I really wanted to

give up. Nights under

a bridge, nights spent

in a public elevator to

stay out of the rain.”

Throughout my struggles, there

were times when I really wanted

to give up. Nights under a bridge,

nights spent in a public elevator to

stay out of the rain.

However, with the help of local and

statewide organizations, I do have

relief and a place to call home.

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I’ve not been in legal trouble for many years. My dependence on

medications keeps me focused enough to at least ensure some hope. I’ve

good relationships with friends and family. I’ve no longer had the extra

burden of having to worry about my needs in general.

I surely hope this story strikes a nerve with other folks that need a

helping hand.

My supportive housing is a kind

safety net and real blessing.

Currently, I’m looking forward

to some time away on the road

temporarily and hopeful for many

other great times ahead. Thank

you and God bless.

“My supportive

housing is a kind

safety net and

real blessing.”

Storytelling workshop in Rockford

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CHERYL

Peoria workshop

My name is Cheryl Elaine Hedden,

and I’m 38 years old. My eyes are

blue, and my hair is at the moment

red with a little bit of green in it. My

life has not been easy.

“My life has not

been easy.”

I was placed in foster care when I was still a baby at 16 months old.

Unlike most cases when it comes to foster kids, I never switched homes.

The very first home I was placed in was the only home I was placed in.

The couple adopted me and two other girls. Even though he was dying

of cancer, he still adopted us girls so our mom wouldn’t lose us to the

system. I was eight when we lost Daddy Engelbrecht.

When I was 11, Mom decided to hire someone to come play Santa for

us girls and the other foster kids. She arranged to meet him, he asked

her out. They dated two weeks and were married. Unfortunately, he

didn’t like me. He was always telling me I was never going to amount to

anything. It’s hard to have hopes and dreams when you’re a useless waste

of space. He died when I was 18. The damage was already done, and to

this day I still feel like I’m worthless

and I’m nothing and not worth loving.

“He died when I was

18. The damage was

already done, and

to this day I still feel

like I’m worthless

and I’m nothing and

not worth loving.”

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When I was 23, Mom met a guy

online—she went to Nevada to meet

him and she married him. They

split their time between Nevada and

Illinois. I don’t understand why, but

I had no trouble in accepting him. I

called him Dad from day one. He was

grandpa to my daughter and my son

shares his middle name.

When I was 24, I was raped by two men I trusted. I’d still been a virgin.

That rape is how my daughter was conceived. Instead of an abortion or

putting her up for adoption right away, I kept her. I’m sorry to say I didn’t

bond with her. She was adopted when she was five.


I’ve held a few jobs and met my ex-husband at my last job. He asked for

my number, I told him it was 1-800-GET-LOST. He thought that was

an invitation to ask me out to dinner three times. He was sweet and

charming until I married him. He like to hit me. We divorced in 2011

after separating in 2010.

Since then, I’ve been in and out of homeless shelters in Pekin, Peoria, and

Bloomington. I’ve lived on the street and stayed with friends. For the

most part, the guys I’ve dated were abusive. I’ve been raped more than

once.

In 2017, I started dating a guy who I met through a friend of mine. He

was a guy who would drink from the time he got up to the time he went

to bed and would use any drug that would give him a high. He liked to

beat the girls he dated. When I finally was able to break free from him, I

didn’t know I was pregnant.

The night before I moved from Bloomington back to Peoria is when I

found out I was pregnant. I stayed at the South Side Mission for a year,

and while there I was able to get the help and support I needed to have

my son and try to get him back. Staying at the South Side Mission put

me in contact with the Dream Center Permanent Supportive Housing

Program. I am no longer homeless

and no longer scared that I’m going

to get the hell beat out of me.

I’m dating someone new and

wonderful. He’s funny and a smartass

but he doesn’t put me down and

he doesn’t hit me. I actually find

myself looking forward to the future

and seeing what’s going to happen

next.

“I actually

find myself

looking forward

to the future

and seeing

what’s going to

happen next.”

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CLEVELAND

Hillside workshop

“For five years

now, I’ve had my

own home. I’m

thankful for my

own place where

I can be my own

person.”

I want to tell my story so I can reach other people. Maybe they went

through something I went through, or maybe they didn’t, but I want to

be able to help somebody.

I came to DuPagePads in 2012 after being homeless for eight years. I was

reluctant to use services or go to groups or classes. I didn’t trust people. I

had lost my son. I tried to commit suicide. I didn’t know how to deal with

the loss of my son. So I turned to the bottle, to drugs. I was mentally and

physically destroyed, and my

mind was all over the place; I

was unstable.

But in June of 2014, I qualified

for the supportive housing

program. That’s when things

started to change. I won’t

forget, when I met my case

manager Katie for the first

time, I tried to bully her.

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“I qualified for the

supportive housing

program. That’s

when things started

to change.”


Day one, I tried to bully her. I wanted to see where she was, you know?

But she stood up to me. And from that day, I respected her. Katie, she put

me in my place. You know, showed I was not gonna bully her.

We moved me into my place together. In December 2018, I graduated

from the Transforming Impossible

into Possible (TIP) Program, a sixweek

self-empowerment workshop.

The group opened my eyes wider.

I learned a lot from it. I realized

that the only one hurting me, was

myself. TIP helped me deal with

things and then let it go.

“I am learning

to transform

impossible into

possible.”

For five years now, Katie’s been

putting up with my ins and outs.

For five years now, I’ve had my own home. I’m thankful for my own place

where I can be my own person. Without DuPagePads I’d be lost. I would

either be in jail or back on the streets living a life of crime. Without

Katie, I would be lost. I learned to trust people again. I am learning to

transform impossible into possible.

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DARIUS

Mt. Vernon workshop

Most people don’t know me. My problem is, I don’t open up. Usually,

people think I’m a normal dude, but inside, I’ve got a million things

going on in my head. Most people don’t understand how trauma can shut

you down. Most people don’t understand that. They don’t understand me

because I don’t share it. So, I want to

learn how to share more.

“Most people

don’t understand

how trauma can

shut you down.”

I was incarcerated in 2001 due to

federal drug charges and served 11

years in prison. I got my GED while

in prison. I heard some inmates were

able to take college courses if they

could pay, but my prison wages were

only 14 cents an hour. After I was discharged, I stayed at a halfway

house for six months. I started a refurbishing and painting job. During

my employment, I was able to design and implement a new system of

“A goal I have

in life is to be

a motivational

speaker.”

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processing the refurbished items to increase productivity. I paid 25% of

my wages for housing at the halfway house, and I attended groups there.

While at the halfway house, I heard about the Southern Illinois Coalition

for the Homeless. But I ran up against some barriers to enter the

program. If I left the halfway house, I would lose my job, but I needed a

job to enter the coalition housing. I decided to call the coalition and talk

with them about my situation.

Right before Christmas, I got a call from the coalition. They told me they

believed in me. I was released from the halfway house in January 2013

and moved into my apartment in Marion with the coalition and have

lived there seven years.

Today, I am working part-time at the Southern Illinois Coalition for the

Homeless as an Intake Coordinator. I have worked there for ten months.

I will start school in the fall studying social work. I am currently looking

for affordable housing and will be transitioning out of the SICH housing

program into permanent housing in the community. I would like to work

full-time to help pay for my apartment.

My mom is my support, and I try to stay focused. I am responsible for

myself, although I fear failure and I am scared of success. I do not want

to be judged by others.

A goal I have in life is to be a motivational speaker. It is important to

form relationships to help when going through hard times. If I could tell

others a few things it would be to never become homeless or be without

a job. If life’s hardships do cause a

person to lose their home or job, try

to stay focused and not be afraid

to ask for help because there are

programs and people who are here to

help. I’m living proof.

“There are

programs and

people who are

here to help.

I’m living proof.”

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DEAN

Rockford workshop

This is my story.

I came from a big family of 17 brothers and sisters. My mom passed

away when I was seven years old. We were told she died of Toxemia from

having so many children. My dad died of a stroke shortly after, when I

was eight years old. My father was

“My mom passed

away when I was

seven years old...

My dad died of a

stroke shortly after.”

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a member at the Moose Lodge. So

after he died, me and seven of my

siblings went to the Mooseheart

orphanage located between

North Aurora and Batavia. I was

at Mooseheart from September

1960–1970, ten years.

I left Mooseheart orphanage to go

to Indiana Westville Mental Institution. I stayed here from September

1970 through May 1971 and then left to go to another orphanage in

Nappanee, Indiana called Bashor Children’s Home. I ran away from

Bashor. After being found, I was sent to yet another orphanage called

Christian Haven, in Wheatfield, Indiana. I stayed here until May 1972,

and I graduated from Kankakee Valley High School.

Once school got out, I was asked by my “house parents” to go work on

a farm in Snyder, Colorado. This was a town of 200, a farm community.

I stayed and worked on the farm until September and then was

encouraged to attend Grace College back in Indiana. I stayed for about

one month before running away, and when I was found by social

workers, I was put back into Christian Haven Orphanage. I stayed at the

orphanage until I turned 21 years old, when I was let go and no longer a

ward of the state.

After turning 21 years old, I hitchhiked to Valparaiso, Indiana. I found

a job at a department store and found a room to stay in. This lasted for

about five months before I was let go. I took a bus to Aurora, Illinois and

was put into a mental institution, called Mercyville. I had to stay here for

a few months. After being discharged, I stayed at the YMCA for a short


time, until a staff member advised police I was unstable and I was sent to

Elgin State Mental Hospital, where I stayed until Spring 1974.

After being released, I went to back Valparaiso, Indiana and first found a

job as a dishwasher at a restaurant called Johnny Boys. After that, I found

a job at a grocery store, National Food Store, and worked there for two

years as a bagger. I then transferred to another grocery store, Costas, and

worked there for two years as a bagger. This was a Christian grocery store

that was closed on Sundays. After Costas, I worked at Eagles Grocery

store, but that didn’t work out. I found myself without a place to stay

again, so I went back to Snyder, Colorado to work on the farm again.

Eventually, I returned to Valparaiso, Indiana and worked different

jobs such as dishwasher, delivering pizzas, and a cab driver. In 1991, I

hitchhiked from Indiana to California. On the way, I was able to stay in

church hallways and police station lobbies overnight. I also had to stay

outside. On occasion, the police

would even pay for a hotel room for

me overnight.

Once I got to Sacramento, I stayed

at the Rescue Mission for a couple

months. Some good Christian

friends purchased a bus ticket

for me to get to Orlando, Florida,

where I was given a job as a

highway worker for a short time.

But eventually, I found myself

hitchhiking back to California and

returning to the Rescue Mission.

“I was able to stay

in church hallways

and police station

lobbies overnight.

I also had to

stay outside.”

I stayed at the Sacramento Rescue Mission for some time before deciding

to hitchhike to Cedar Rapids, Iowa. There, I stayed at a homeless shelter

for only one month, as this is all they would allow. I only worked one day

in Cedar Rapids, laying sod. I then hitchhiked back to Aurora, Illinois

and stayed here for five years. I worked at Wendy’s for two of those years

and I rang bells for Salvation Army all five years.

I left Aurora to go to Sandusky, Ohio for a job at Cedar Point, an

amusement park. I worked there for two years and then moved to

25


Rockford, Illinois in February 1997. I rang bells in Rockford and church

ministers always gave me rides home. I stayed in a room off of Cherry

Street. I got a job at Kelly’s Market Mobil and I worked there until July

2014 (for 16 years).

I found myself homeless several times during those 16 years, due to

not having enough funds for housing. I slept outside on bus benches.

I was eventually let go from Mobil due to not having any hours. I was

homeless. My sister, Gay, came to get me and took me to South Bend,

Indiana to stay and visit with her and my brother, Neil, for three weeks.

But I had to go back to Rockford and I was still roughing it outside.

Everett, a church worker from Salvation Army, took me to Carpenter’s

Place. I was put up in Travel Inn Hotel for three and a half weeks before

I was given my own apartment on November 18, 2014. No more staying

outside on Schnucks benches,

“I was given my

own apartment

on November 18,

2014.”

or motel rooms. I go to chapel

Monday through Friday. Every

now and then I get to go see my

brothers and sisters who live out of

state (I still have 13 living siblings).

I also attend Salvation Army

Church every Sunday.

I felt I was watched over and

protected throughout my journey. I volunteer at Carpenter’s Place pretty

much every chance I get. I kept hearing the word from the preachers and

just kept going. I listen to Christian Radio Stations more and more. I feel

like I have changed a lot, but I’m on the right path. I want to keep going

and share my story with others. God never gives up on anyone. Keep

praying.

Love,

Dean

26


DONNA

Mt. Vernon workshop

“Homelessness

can happen to

anyone, at any

time. Never

say never.”

The path to homelessness is one that most of us think we will never be

on—but I’m here to tell you it is a path that any of us can end up on.

I ended up on that path in Southern Illinois soon after I arrived here,

leaving a bad relationship. I could not stay with my daughter and risk

putting my granddaughter in danger. I ended up at the Women’s Center in

Carbondale for about three weeks. I am sorry to say that I ended up having

to leave due to a personal verbal attack by an employee of the center.

Fortunately, I had already contacted

Southern Illinois Coalition for the

Homeless. I was blessed that they had

an apartment available in Harrisburg,

a small town in Saline County. They

got me in an apartment in record

time. The coalition saved me, not only

securing housing, but they provided

furniture, but things like a coffee pot,

“I could not stay

with my daughter

and risk putting

my granddaughter

in danger.”

27


silverware. They offer counseling and match you up with other programs

that you may qualify for.

Being homeless leads to so many other negative situations. With no

address, a job is next to impossible to obtain. How do you bathe, wash

clothes? With no job, how do you obtain an apartment? Many landlords

will not even consider you. How do you stay on medication? So many have

to do without critical medicine. So many of those meds are psych meds,

insulin, heart meds, and so many other life-saving medications.

So many—too many—see someone who is homeless and automatically

think, “Bum, get a job,” and many other negative assumptions. Being

homeless is a horrible experience. It is an embarrassing, soul-crushing,

and hopeless situation to be in. It isn’t just men, as so many assume. It is

women with children trying to get out of abusive situations, it is families,

young people, and senior citizens who

“It is women with

children trying to

get out of abusive

situations, it is

families, young

people, and senior

citizens who cannot

or do not make

enough money to

keep a home.”

28

cannot or do not make enough money to

keep a home.

It is such a blessing that there are programs

such as Southern Illinois Coalition for

the Homeless and many others. I was

fortunate that I found the coalition so

quickly and that they had an apartment

available. But there are countless others

who are not so fortunate, who remain in

horrible, soul-crushing situations.

And yes, there are some who have mental

illness who cannot stay on meds. And

some who may be addicts or alcoholics, who may have been released from

a hospitalization or incarceration. There are the lost, the hopeless. There

are the good, the bad, and those who are struggling to keep their heads

above water.

If you say “Not me, not my family,” don’t be so sure. It is amazing just how

many people in this country are actually two or three skipped paychecks,

or just one illness, away from being homeless.

It can happen to anyone, at any time. Never say never. It happened to me,

and trust me, it could happen to you.


HOLLY

Mt. Vernon workshop

“You never know

how strong you

are until having

to be strong is

the only choice

you have.”

I was kicked out of my parents’ house when I was sixteen. I ended up with

the neighborhood dope dealer. I didn’t realize that he was a drug dealer at

first, but it was too late, I had already fell in love with him. The reason my

parents kicked me out was because they knew what he was doing, and they

didn’t want me to be with him. My parents had ten children, and I was the

better of the ten. I played sports, I was making good grades in school. My

mom was really sick, she was an alcoholic, and I took care of her.

He was already on probation, and he went to prison for two years. I

waited for him, and I lived with his parents, and I helped care for his three

children. I graduated when I was eighteen, and he got out of prison. He

was home a month. He became very

abusive. I still stayed because it was

better than being at my mom’s house.

My mom was an alcoholic, and she

didn’t really care for me much.

Then, when we were in Cape

Girardeau, he was caught with a meth

lab in the trunk of the car. I took the

blame—I wrote a statement against

“He became very

abusive. I still stayed

because it was better

than being at my

mom’s house.”

29


myself. That was the first drug charge I ever received. He went back to

prison, and I waited for him again. He’d come home, he wasn’t home two

days, and he beat the crap out of me. We moved around a lot, because he

was on drugs.

It was 2003 when I came home from jail, and he was still in prison. I

became a manager at McDonald’s. I worked until he came home, and

we tried to have our first daughter. It took us two years. I finally became

pregnant, and he made me quit my job. Then he continued to do drugs and

hang out with bad people. He would cheat on me and beat on me and he

was always gone. He’d always have different women because they bought

him Sudafed. He asked me, too. I figured it would make our relationship

stronger, so I purchased Sudafed.

We were together eight years. We were married for only one of the eight.

He cheated on me with my sister and he got the 17-year-old babysitter

pregnant, so I decided to leave him. When I left him, I didn’t realize he’d

been being watched by the federal government. They waited until my

divorce was final, because in the state of Illinois, they don’t make you

testify against your husband. When they went to serve him his federal

indictment, he went on the run with his brother, and when my divorce

was final, they indicted me. On June 7, 2011. I went to federal prison for

methamphetamine conspiracy.

I remember praying to God when I was there, if you just let my daughters

be alive when I get home. I just wanted them to be alive, and I would

do my best to help even just one person. I was gone for two years. I let

my daughters go live with my brother, because I thought he was a good

guy, and he was always good to his kids. He had three sons, I have two

daughters. And I remember telling my sister-in-law multiple times—I

called them from prison—please don’t leave my kids with your son while

“I remember praying

to God when I was

there, if you just let

my daughters be alive

when I get home.”

30

you go to Walmart. Please don’t

leave my kids with your son while

you go down the road.

Well, I got a phone call on June 15

of 2013 that my nephew had been

molesting my daughters. So my

kids were moved back to Illinois.


I got released from federal prison May 21 of 2014. My daughters were six

and seven. I got a job at a dry cleaner and I was in a halfway house for six

months. I applied and applied and applied for housing, but because of my

charge, nobody would give me public housing.

Finally, I was referred to the Southern Illinois Coalition for the Homeless,

and Dori did my intake. She’s one of my case managers. And they gave me

a home. On November 17, 2016, I moved my daughters into an apartment,

and I’ve lived in Marion since then. I take care of my kids by myself.

And I just want to give other people hope, because, I mean, five years—I

started over with nothing. And me and my daughters are doing great. I

go to school, I work two jobs, and

I take care of them, and neither

grandparents have anything to do

with my kids.

“I just want to give other

people hope, because, I

mean, five years—

I started over with nothing.

And me and my daughters

are doing great.”

I am going to school for nursing,

and it’s no guarantee that I’ll be

able to get a position, because I am

a felon, and it’s a drug charge. But

I’m going to it on just pure faith,

because they do have felony waivers. But it’s a process. I am in the LPN

program at John A. Logan Community College, and I am on the Student

Advisory Board. I plan to graduate with an Associate of Arts within a

year and have my LPN Certificate in two years. Then I will continue my

education to obtain my Registered Nursing degree.

Thank God for the coalition. If it was not for the help of the Southern

Illinois Coalition for the Homeless, I don’t know where I would be. I

have had a few emotional setbacks with my family, but I continue to push

forward despite what is thrown at me.

Never give up no matter how hard it

gets, keep pushing. There is light at

the end of the tunnel. You may not see

the light right away, that is why I keep

pushing because it is there. You never

know how strong you are until having

to be strong is the only choice you have.

Holly and Aaron in Mt. Vernon

31


LAURA

Chicago workshop

“Homelessness

is not an

individual

failure.”

A lot of people would describe me as a strong, fun, and outgoing person.

To look at me, you would never think I was once homeless. But one thing

for sure, I am proud of the journey that brought me where I stand today

and I am happy to share it with you.

I start advocating before even being homeless. Since I was 25 years old,

I started visiting different homeless communities. I listened to their

stories, thoughts, and feelings, never imagining one day I would be one

of them. I just felt drawn to them and wonder why to some people they

are just a burden when in reality no one is born without a roof over their

heads.

Now, I am here to tell you how I became homeless and why I couldn’t

find a home for 16 years.

Before everything started, I had a difficult childhood. My father changed

from job to job, there was always fighting, alcohol, and gambling.

Nevertheless, our mother always managed to have food on the table and

clothes in our closets for me and my eight siblings. She always spoke

good about our father and told us to never speak badly about him.

32


Throughout my early life, I felt a constant level of sadness and anger, and

for too long, I didn’t realize it was depression. These daily feelings told

me that I wasn’t worth investing in, so I dropped out of High School,

quit my job and found myself with the wrong people. I was immersed

in a cycle of poverty and depression that took me to dark places where I

couldn’t support my children or myself.

I had only two things that helped me cope: alcohol and drugs. I could

drink the whole day while seeing myself repeating the same mistakes my

father did on me, to my own children.

Everything got worsened by the

homelessness and the lack of access to

resources needed to recover myself. I

didn’t have the information of what

organizations could help me, didn’t

know how to spend my money correctly

or speak honestly with my family. Even

though they knew what was going

on, I didn’t know how to accept their

support because I felt ashamed.

“After three weeks

in the hospital, my

doctor asked me

if I was homeless.

That question would

be the first step to

my new life.”

After 16 years of going from friends, family, and stranger’s houses, in

addition to drugs abusive, mental disorders, and other health problems, I

found myself in the hospital fighting for my life. After three weeks in the

hospital, my doctor asked me if I was homeless. That question would be

the first step to my new life. I know now that most of the people are never

asked for their personal situation, and I think of him as my savior.

He connected me to a place

called Interfaith where I found

support and felt like I was part

of a community. As I made true

friends in the organization, my

mind was free from the alcohol

and drugs. With movies, they

show us the reality on the

streets, and I could face my

anger issues with the help of a

Laura bringing home leftover sandwiches to

share with neighbors and friends

33


psychologist. Our conversations were a reality check of what was going

inside my mind. After a year of participating in their program, the

organization helped me to figure out what benefits I qualify for and how

to apply for housing in Thresholds.

My first apartment was a studio, I didn’t feel trapped, I had a room, a

kitchen, a big TV where I could watch my movies and a bathroom for

myself. I had my own place to rest, a place of silence. I felt secure and

grateful for the twelve years I lived in the apartment.

Furthermore, I got the chance to work with them as a desk clerk for ten

years where I felt happy and became part of their family as we celebrated

special occasions together and

“Now, I have my own

apartment where I

can sleep peacefully,

refreshingly, knowing

who I am now.”

supported each other. The staff

cares about us, and we care about

them more like a family than staff.

The atmosphere was healthy and

full of spirit as we were too busy

having fun.

Now, I have my own apartment

where I can sleep peacefully,

refreshingly, knowing who I am

now. Thankful for my journey and prepare to give advice to people that

are in my same situation.

After my 70 years of experience, I know I still got a lot to give. But there

have to be right people that are willing to listen, open their heart to

changes, and understand that homelessness is not an individual failure.

However, if we do not give this a priority, we are going to fail as a society.

34

Chicago workshop participants


MARKETTA

Chicago workshop

“With great

sacrifices

come great

accomplishments.”

Breaking the Cycle of Generational Domestic Violence with Family

My name is Marketta Sims, born May 15, 1980. I lost my mom in 1994,

November 24. She passed away from carbon monoxide poison so her

funeral was closed casket. I lived with my toxic auntie and cousins.

I had to grow up fast and earned adult responsibility before time, which

in turn overwhelmed me to lose myself. I ended up with 13 years in the

penal institution. Throughout that trial and error, I graduated four times.

When I came home to regain my

stability my auntie and cousin was still

toxic. I ended up homeless in order to

renew myself and identity. With great

sacrifices come great accomplishments.

“I had to grow

up fast.”

I broke the cycle of toxic family by removing myself and creating a new

me.

35


PATRICK

Chicago workshop

“As I met new

people and

began hearing

their stories, I

learned...

I was not alone.”

I am here today to advocate for homeless people.

For you to understand why I found myself homeless at one time in my life,

you must first understand my upbringing. For me, childhood is not the

happy picture that it is for most people. The adults in my life did not show

unconditional love. Living under the same roof as my stepfather meant

that even at the age of six I had to work. I was kept busy with household

chores, working like a slave while my peers were out playing, even while

my step-siblings were free to be kids. My mother let this happen, and if it

bothered her, she didn’t show it.

Without the love and compassion of the adults in my life, I would

experience depression, and eventually be hospitalized for suicidal

tendencies in adolescence. Cocaine came into my life at this time, too, and

I had been introduced to alcohol as early as four years old.

I first became homeless when I was 16. I had stopped going to school, and

my mother’s boyfriend said that if I wasn’t going to go to school and didn’t

have a job, I couldn’t live with them. I lived with friends from school until

I turned 18. I got my GED, and then I got my Associates at Suomi College

for social work.

36


Through a friend, I began working at a carnival. Then I went to work

for Astro Amusements and traveled the country: I went to Tennessee,

Georgia, Florida, and the Cayman Islands. Some of the rides I worked on

are Rok’n’Rol, Orbiter, High Roller, and the Amor Express Himalaya. I met

people from all over the United States. I liked being around other people at

the carnival, learning a skill, and I felt like I was a part of a community.

I left the road life of the carnival when my girlfriend became pregnant. I

would go on to work many different jobs over the next 11 years. I would be

married three times and have 4 children. Even though I am divorced from

their mothers, I am still a part of my children’s lives. I eventually went back

to work for a carnival, but after a disagreement with the boss, I left. This

was leaving a steady job and the place I lived most of the year. After my

divorce, I had no home to go back to. It was not easy to live on my own and

hold down a steady job due to my struggle with paranoid schizophrenia.

A week after leaving the carnival, I ended up in a hospital. I had reached a

point where I felt like I was gonna hurt myself, but I had the instinct to get

help. I stayed there for two months. There, I met a caseworker who would

connect me with a group home. I was glad to have a roof over my head, but

I felt penned in at group homes. I slept on a twin bed in a room I shared

with three or four other roommates. Oftentimes, there was little to do for

recreation. The homes did not have mental health services, only Alcoholics

Anonymous.

But it was during this time that I would meet my first caseworker

from Thresholds. They helped me pay my $400 monthly rent using an

emergency fund. They tried to help me get my social security benefits, but

I was denied. I decided to leave this group home after they tried to pressure

me into taking a drug test, and I would not submit. I lost contact with

Thresholds, and I would look for shelter and care in hospitals for the next

two years, but would mostly have to live on the streets.

I was in seven different hospitals over

this two-year period. I would stay

in the hospitals anywhere from one

week to two months. They put me

on several different meds until they

found a mixture that worked for me.

“I was in seven

different hospitals

over this two-year

period.”

37


When I was in the hospital, I found out that I had type II diabetes and high

blood pressure. After learning about my diabetes, I quit drinking. They

also helped keep my mental illness in check. When I wasn’t staying at a

hospital, I would live anywhere I could. Sometimes this meant sleeping on

the El, the bus, or at the Daley Center in downtown Chicago.

To make some money, I started participating in research studies for mental

illness. Many of my peers need medication, but they are worried about side

“When I wasn’t staying

at a hospital, I would

live anywhere I could.

Sometimes this meant

sleeping on the El, the

bus, or at the Daley

Center in downtown

Chicago.”

38

effects. I thought it was a chance to help

myself and other people. I spent anywhere

from two weeks to two months doing

inpatient research studies, or anywhere

from six months to a year for outpatient

research studies. To this day, I continue

to earn supplemental income from

participating in these studies.

When I was in the hospital doing an

inpatient research study, I met a guy named

Steve who was drying out from crack. He reintroduced me to Thresholds

and what services they had to offer to people with mental illness.

The Bridge Team of Thresholds helped me with several life-changing

services. First, they helped me reapply for social security benefits, and this

time I was approved. This allowed me to live full time at my own place,

instead of having to leave and go back to the hospital when I ran out of

money. I got a room of my own, and still do.

Then they got me connected to mental health services: this includes

medication, a psychiatrist, and weekly group therapy sessions that use

evidence-based methods. Group therapy was scary at first, but as I met new

people and began hearing their stories, I learned that there were people

worse off than me and that I was not alone. Supportive groups are offered

every day of the week at Thresholds, and some are even run by people who

have been through the Thresholds program.

I began to feel safer and more stable in my living situation, and I developed

friendships with others in my apartment building. I even started dating.

With these supports, I have now lived on my own for over ten years. That is

why I want to help spread the word on supportive housing.


STANLEY

Hillside workshop

“I’m dreaming

again. That feels

so good, to be

able to dream.”

I’ve always said to myself, Lord, why am I going through all the crap that

I’m going through? And it came back to me: “I want you to be able to

identify with everyone. I want you to be able to say been there, done that.

And since I been there, done that, I can help show you the way out.”

I actually tried to commit suicide. My life was so low and so bad, I

couldn’t even get suicide right. And I’m so grateful now, because it

passed. I didn’t think that I had that capability of doing something like

that. So that was a rude awakening for me.

The reason is I had to deal with the death of my son. He was shot and

killed on the west side of Chicago. He called me two weeks before he got

killed. He said, “Dad? I’m about to be

a dad too, just like you! But I need help

because I don’t know how to be a dad.”

“Don’t worry, baby, I got you,” I said.

“You need to come out here with me,

first. Get off that west side of Chicago,

and we’ll buy a home. And I’ll pass it

“He called me two

weeks before he got

killed. He said, ‘Dad?

I’m about to be a dad,

too, just like you!’”

39


to you, and you’ll pass it to your child. And you’ve got a free babysitter.”

And he said great.

Two weeks later, he was dead. Shot multiple times to the body, and then

they finished it off by shooting him in the head. I had to identify that

body.

But my son brought another baby into the world. I was gonna take care

of that child. He looked just like his father, and they named him after

him.

But a couple of weeks later, the baby died. So I buried a son and a

grandson within six months’ time.

And my life just went downhill. I mean it

just spiraled out of control. I lost my job,

I lost my apartment. I just didn’t want to

live anymore.

“I buried a son and a

grandson within six

months’ time.”

I didn’t know that I was clinically depressed. I had no clue. I’ve always

thought I was the captain of my ship. You know, the hero of the family.

And it took me to come to A.I.D. to be able to try to get back my life,

because I was in uncharted water and didn’t know how to deal with it.

I couldn’t go to my mother, because I had a mother that I loved, but I

didn’t like her. We didn’t see things eye to eye. I had to go to an outside

source to be able to get some help.

I feel like I’m on the right track now. And I love life, because I’m

dreaming again. That feels so good, to be able to dream. To be able to

make plans. I’m dreaming again.

40


STEVE

Peoria workshop

I think I stood out being a single dad, but there’s a lot of us out there.

41


T. BRYANT

Peoria workshop

This is my story. I was sheltered all my life up until I was 17. I told

my stepmom that I was going to drop out of high school. At first, she

was cool with it, but two weeks later she came to me about going to

Job Corps. So, I decided to go. While I was at Job Corps, I found that

things were not the same as they had been when I was at home—there

were different people, with different personalities, views, and ideas. I

graduated in May of 2004 when I was 19 years old. That’s when bad

things happened. I became homeless for the first time; I could not find a

job in Cincinnati, Ohio.

My stepmom’s health was getting

worse, so I had to move back here

to Peoria, but I became homeless

because I didn’t know where to go.

My stepmom was sick and in the

hospital and my dad was staying at my

grandma’s house.

42

“I didn’t know where

to go. My stepmom

was sick and in the

hospital and my dad

was staying at my

grandma’s house.”


I met this older guy that allowed me and another female to stay with

him. He ended up turning that house into a whore house. In the process

of all this, I met my daughter’s dad in the summer of 2005 and had my

daughter in 2006. Then I met my two sons’ dad while I was pregnant

with my daughter. I got with him when I was six months with my

daughter. It was the worst mistake of my life. He was very abusive

towards me.

In 2007, I met my current fiancée, but the thing was we were living two

different lives. I was with my kid’s dad and he was with somebody else, so

we could not be together at this time. Then I had my first son, in March

of 2008. Then, in 2009, my daughter and oldest son got taken away by

DCFS because of domestic violence. DCFS told me that it was either him

or my kids, so I left him, but was unable to get my kids back right away.

My depression over this led me back to homeless again.

Then I made some more mistakes that made me go to IDOC. I came

home and got back with my abusive baby daddy. I got pregnant with my

youngest son, but I just got tired of the same thing.

On December 2, 2011, I left him, five months pregnant with my second

son. I went to a homeless shelter. I

“On December 2, 2011,

I left him, five months

pregnant with my

second son. I went to

a homeless shelter.”

fought for my kids, did everything

that DCFS asked me to do, except

for finding a place to stay, because

DCFS looks down on homeless

shelters, I felt I could not get them

back while I stayed there. Finally, I

ended up getting a job and finding

a place, and almost got them back.

But the phone sales job didn’t last.

I ended up losing my job and my place in 2015. I decided to give family

temporary custody of the kids. My family adopted them.

From 2015–2018 I stayed in a tent with my fiancée. He is now working

at Embassy Suites. We have been in our Permanent Supportive Housing

apartment since July of 2018, and I am currently enrolled in computer

classes at Goodwill Industries.

43


TAJ

Hillside workshop

I’ve been homeless since I was a

sophomore in high school. My mother

and I did not always have the best

relationship. So when she asked me to

leave her home when I was a sophomore, it drove me to want to prove

her wrong, that she didn’t have control over my life, and I wasn’t going to

allow her to have control over my life anymore.

I put myself through high school. I was working. I got myself down to

two classes my senior year so I had time to work. Once I graduated, I left

my tickets at the box for my mother if she wanted to come. And—she

came! She brought my little sister and my older brother, he was in the

military and then was out. He surprised me, and I cried when I saw him.

After I graduated, I tried to reconnect with my mother, and it didn’t work

out. It just made things worse. I moved to Tennessee and I tried to start

my life over. I was in school while I was down there, I was working a fulltime

job, and I was making it happen. I thought that if I tried to work

with her some more, there would be this relationship. And it just didn’t

work out. It still just didn’t work out. I keep praying on it, I keep asking, I

keep trying to make it work.

Then I got into a car accident and my life crumbled around me. I lost

my job. Once I lost my job, I couldn’t go to school anymore, because I

couldn’t pay to get back and forth. And then I lost my apartment. Once I

lost my apartment, I put myself in a position where I was doing things to

make ends meet for myself. I tried to come back to Indianapolis to make

up with my mother. It was Mother’s Day. She sat down and met with me,

and she told me that a woman is always supposed to do for herself, she

shouldn’t need for someone else to be there for her.

So I came here. I came here looking for my father’s side of the family, and

I was introduced to the Emergence Program. Through them, I was able

to find some of my relatives, and things started looking up. I was able to

find some of my relatives, who I now stay with.

I will be going back to school this coming fall. I’m going to make it happen.

44

“I will be going back

to school this coming

fall. I’m going to

make it happen.”


45


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

Our thanks, first and foremost, to the individuals who joined our

workshops and shared their stories. We are grateful to those who share

their experiences in the pages of this publication, helping us to continue

learning from each other.

This project would not have been possible without funding from the

Illinois Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund. Thank you for supporting

our work.

Finally, our thanks to all the residents in permanent supportive housing

in Illinois, as well as the staff who make permanent supportive housing

programs possible. Together, we are getting closer to ending chronic

homelessness.

SUPPORTIVE HOUSING

PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION

David Esposito

Aaron Eldridge

Jennifer M. Orban

HOUSING ACTION ILLINOIS

Sharon Legenza

Kristin Ginger

Amina Farha

46


SUPPORTIVE HOUSING PROVIDERS ASSOCIATION

SHPA is a statewide (Illinois) grassroots coalition of 90+ nonprofits

providing supportive housing (affordable housing plus services) to

extremely-low and low-income individuals and families experiencing

homelessness and persons/families with disabilities. SHPA works to knit

together its members, including member organizations and member

residents of supportive housing, into a strong state and federal advocacy

voice for supportive housing resources and policies. SHPA strongly

believes in advocacy from those with lived experiences of homelessness

and/or persons with disabilities who reside in supportive housing. The

authenticity of their personal stories weigh more in the battle to ending

homelessness.

Learn more at www.shpa-il.org.

HOUSING ACTION ILLINOIS

Housing Action Illinois has led the movement to expand and protect

affordable housing and end homelessness in Illinois for more than 30

years. As a statewide coalition, we bring together more than 160 member

organizations that include housing counseling agencies and developers,

homeless service providers and government workers, lenders and

policymakers, and advocates and community organizers. By advocating

for better policies, training member organizations, and spearheading

statewide collaboration, we are creating an Illinois where everyone is able

to rent or buy a good home.

Learn more at www.housingactionil.org.


O U R T H A N K S T O T H E

I L L I N O I S C H A R I T A B L E T R U S T S T A B I L I Z A T I O N F U N D

I WANT TO SHARE MY STORY TO

help someone in need

be of help or encouragement to others and myself

help others who are going through hardships know that they're not alone

help someone else in the same situation

help at least one person

share the resources we have

prevent it from happening to someone else

save someone

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