One of the core areas of United Way of Metropolitan Chicago’s work that you support with your contribution is ensuring that individuals and families have resources to meet their most basic needs—food on the table, a place to sleep for the night and safety from abuse or violence. Though United Way focuses considerable resources on the foundational pillars of education, income and health, we know that much of our region struggles to take advantage of or use those pillars.
United Way of Metropolitan Chicago supports 64 partner agencies that deliver crisis support, including Housing Opportunities for Women (HOW). HOW provides affordable, supportive housing to help the growing number of homeless families in Chicago, while providing them with the support services needed to empower them toward lifelong self-sufficiency.
HOW serves primarily women and children, but has recently expanded services to also help male clients. HOW offers scattered-site housing for their clients, so instead of having a single building where everyone lives, clients are placed into apartments throughout the city. This helps HOW find housing solutions that are best for the client—that might mean living closer to friends and family for additional support or moving away from past negative influences if a client has struggled with substance abuse or been a victim of domestic violence.
Each client living in HOW housing has the ability to access wraparound support services. Case managers work with each client to develop a transition plan with short- and long-term goals, and then provide the support and assistance needed to accomplish the goals. Clients can also access support groups that give them the opportunity to share their experiences and help each other around issues ranging from maintaining sobriety and preventing domestic violence, to apartment maintenance and money management. Financial literacy and banking skills training are also provided, along with other educational workshops and classes.
HOW also works to prevent homelessness (a far less expensive strategy than re-housing people) in Chicago by working with individuals and families who are struggling to maintain their current housing. They provide credit and budget counseling, short-term financial assistance, affordable housing relocation and stipends for rent, utilities, moving expenses and storage fees.
With you, we’re proud to support Housing Opportunities for Women’s work, as part of our work, to ensure everyone has a roof over their head and a safe place to live.