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Review for Deborah's Place, Chicago, IL, USA

Rating: 5 stars  

With its mission to break the cycle of homelessness for women in Chicago, the two key words I use to describe Deborah's Place are respect and empathy. Respect and empathy extends across all programs and to all participants including staff and administrators, volunteers and board members and most especially to the women who come seeking services and shelter. Respect comes in listening and responding to the voices of all the many women who come through the doors, evolving over time from a straight forward emergency overnight shelter to a multifaceted program of permanent and transitional housing with a full range of supportive services. Empathy is shown by the innovative and cutting edge 'no-eviction' program developed by Deborah's Place as part of the solution to ending homelessness and now nationally recognized and shared by Deborah's Place with shelter and service providers around the country. I have remained a volunteer and supporter of Deborah's Place for so long because the organization is so willing to evolve. Moving from homelessness to shelter and permanent home takes resiliency, flexibility and determination. Deborah's Place demonstrates those qualities.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

... serving on the Board of Directors with Teresa. She joined us as a former program participant, then living in her own apartment. Sharing rides to meetings, we became friends. Determined to give back, her insights into the lives of women experiencing some of the same things she had only months previously was inspiring. When Teresa died from cancer she inspired us to name our next program after her. It has proven to be an ideal stopping place for strong women who need a helping hand along the way.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

trust the board and staff to listen and respond. Changing to better serve women experiencing homelessness is a core strength of Deborah's Place. My one wish for Deborah's Place is that news of what they are doing and how they do it will reach more caring people who can support the work. The rewards are enormous.

Role:  Volunteer & I started volunteering at Deborah's Place 24 years ago and have washed matresses, prepared meals, played scrabble, taught sewing, heald candle light vigil, written and read reports, made paper, listened to singing, shared meals, recieved hugs and tears, m.