For over 32 years, Home of the Sparrow has been changing the lives of homeless women and children in our community, like Carol and her family, by helping them achieve independence and break the cycle of poverty.
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Carol, who spent five months in Home of the Sparrow’s (HOS) McHenry Shelter during the late 1990s, called recently to express appreciation for the support she received during one of the most frightening times in her life. Carol, who had five children and was also pregnant with twins, came to HOS after her relationship ended and she found herself homeless. Briefly, Carol and her children lived with her brother. “We knew we would not be able to stay long,” she said. Exploring human services options in the phone book, Carol found and called Home of the Sparrow.
She felt lucky to be accepted into the program but frightened about where life was leading them. However, it did not take long for Carol and her children to adjust. “We had no choice,” she said.
Some of the job searches led to dead ends. “I had a lot of doors slammed in my face,” remembers Carol. The staff, and the other residents—they taught us self-confidence, something I had lost along the way. I knew I had to work hard in the program, and I needed to stay focused on my goals.” With lots of persistence, Carol eventually found a job.
When Carol and her children were ready to leave the Shelter Program, HOS staff helped them move into community housing, making sure they had everything they needed to set up independent living. “It was scary at first, but we had what we needed to keep moving forward. “Life has taken us through a lot of changes,” Carol said. “Those changes make us who we become. You never know what tomorrow will bring, but we all learned that success is dependent on individual choices made.”
That was 20 years ago! Carol remembers at that time, the Shelter only housed four other moms and their children in one big room. Now, the Shelter offers nine dorm rooms and four two-bedroom individual living units. In addition, HOS also has 26 Affordable Housing units, a subsidized apartment program, and many rental assistance programs, combined with intensive case management and educational programming. During the 2018 fiscal year, the Shelter served 35 women and 50 children, and 88 percent of exits from the shelter went into permanent housing.
“I’m happy that the doors of Home of the Sparrow are still open and the program is going strong,” said Carol. It really changed my life, and I wanted the staff to know, we are still doing okay, thanks to all the help we received so long ago. I will never forget what Home of the Sparrow did for me and my children, who are all doing well!
This Mother’s Day,
please help give mothers and their children
a second chance at a safe and stable life,
with a Gift of Hope to Home of the Sparrow.
Thank you so much for your support!