“I didn’t know where to go, what to say, or what my rights were until South Suburban Family Shelter (SSFS),” shared a teary eyed speaker at SSFS’s Candlelight Vigil Monday, October 1st, in Homewood, IL. The Vigil was attended by nearly 60 people and served as a kick-off to honor Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Keynote speakers were Homewood Mayor Rich Hofeld and Director of the Violence Division for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, Alzetta Bozeman.
SSFS services the south suburbs of Chicago and extends west to Orland Park and as far east as over the border into Indiana. With bilingual 24-hour hotlines, they receive an average of 4,000 calls annually.
The services they provide for domestic abuse victims ranges from emergency temporary shelter, transportation, court advocacy, counseling (for victim, children and abuser), transitional housing and medical advocacy. SSFS works in tandem with partner organizations when clients require services they don’t directly provide; some of these agencies are the South Suburban Council on Alcohol and Substance Abuse and Grand Prairie Services. SSFS also provides services for abused men and the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community.
When a woman is injured every nine seconds from her partner and 30% of Americans say they know someone who has experienced domestic abuse, the community stands in awe of an organization like SSFS. This was the case last Monday night. That same teary eyed speaker ended her story with a smile, “with the proper protocol for change, I can work towards fulfilling my dreams.”
Staff from South-Southwest Suburban United Way had the privilege to join SSFS in supporting these victims by listening to live testimonies. As a proud partner, United Way would like to thank South Suburban Family Shelter for sharing more about their programs and their wonderful work towards a safer community.
Submitted on behalf of Kristen Johnson, Volunteer Coordinator, United Way of Metropolitan Chicago