Deborah's Place Overview
Target demographics: Deborah’s Place served unaccompanied adult women who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. We specialize in reaching unaccompanied adult women who are considered by the system to be the “hardest to house” and who represent 43 percent of Chicago’s single homeless population.
75% African American
67% between ages 41-60
Age range: 20-80
59% experience chronic homelessness
92% live with a disability
70% live with a mental illness
40% experience chemical dependence
30% are victims of domestic violence
Direct beneficiaries per year: Over 400 women go through the doors of Deborah’s Place each year, and we strive to ensure that once housed in our programs, not one will return to the streets. “Kathy”, a former participant of Teresa’s Interim Housing and the Rebecca Johnson Apartments, described how she broke the cycle of homelessness at Deborah’s Place in a recent letter to our Executive Director: “I enjoy my life now. I find a purpose to get up in the morning and am more capable of handling challenges that life brings my way.” In the letter, she described her personal journey: Finding her dream job (“the longest I have ever been employed with one employer before,” she wrote), living in her own apartment, and approaching completion of her doctorate degree. “This would never have been possible without the support and encouragement that I received from Deborah's Place.” Like Kathy, women come to Deborah’s Place for assistance reclaiming control over their lives and discover not only the tangible reward of a key to their new homes, but also their inner strength to recover from homelessness.
Someone who had 3 hours of volunteer time could: Cook and serve dinner to 30 women at Marah's Permanent Housing or the programs at 1530 N. Sedgwick; Teach an array of workshops in one of our Learning Centers; Give one-on-one resume and job search training; Provide administrative support in our main offices; Clean the common areas or plant flowers and landscape at any of our three locations; Throw a party for or play Bingo with the women.
Geographic areas served: Deborah’s Place serves women throughout the City of Chicago with locations in the East Garfield Park, Old Town, and Lakeview neighborhoods.
Programs: The innovative and award-winning housing programs of Deborah’s Place include:
* Dolores’ Safe Haven: Permanent housing for 15 women who are chronically homeless and mentally ill
*Teresa’s Interim Housing: A 10-bed, 120-day residential program focused on rapid re-housing
* Marah’s Permanent Housing: Permanent supportive housing for 30 women with disabilities
* Patty Crowley Apartments: 39 permanent housing units for women with disabilities
* Rebecca Johnson Apartments: 90 units of permanent supportive housing
Women residing in Deborah’s Place housing programs have access to a variety of services that are coordinated through on-site Learning Centers located at each of three agency buildings. Deborah’s Place also provides daytime supportive services to off-site women who are currently homeless or at risk of homelessness.
* Health Services: Through on-site mini-health clinics, Deborah’s Place staff and partners coordinate women’s healthcare and provide referrals to free or low-cost health services. On-site healthcare and health education reduce health crises that may require costly emergency room visits and helps women who have not accessed traditional healthcare due to barriers including lack of health insurance, mental illness, substance use, and resistance to care.
* Education Services: Group activities, field trips, and one-on-one engagement provide women access to the humanities, life skills training, social-emotional development, and basic adult education including GED preparation and computer instruction.
* Employment Services: Assistance with resume-writing, job searches, and career coaching helps women to obtain and maintain employment.
* Therapeutic Services: Licensed clinical social workers and masters-level student interns provide counseling and crisis intervention for women with mental illness, addictions, and dual diagnoses. Art therapy is also provided at multiple sites.
* Comprehensive Case Management: Unlike the traditional medical model, case management at Deborah’s Place is an individualized and participant-directed process, comprised of collaborative interventions that assist each woman in meeting the goals she has established for herself. Guided by the Recovery Model, case management services use an asset-based approach emphasizing each woman’s individual strengths so that case managers can link women to resources – both inside and outside of Deborah’s Place – to help them reach stability and self-sufficiency.
*53 women moved directly from the streets to the agency's supportive housing programs.
*97% of our supportive housing residents maintained their housing at Deborah’s Place (163 women) or relocated to stable housing in the community (25 women). These women have truly broken the cycle of homelessness.
* Zero women were evicted or terminated from our programs, demonstrating our commitment to harm reduction and Housing First strategies.
*54 women obtained or maintained sustainable income through employment or public benefits.
*100 percent of participants accessed critical services that helped to reduce barriers to maintaining stable housing, including 191 who received health services, and 409 who sought educational or social-emotional opportunities through the agenc's Learning Centers.