Sarah's Circle

Sarah's Circle is a refuge for women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. By providing housing assistance, case management, referral services, and life necessities, we encourage women to empower themselves by rebuilding both emotionally and physically; realizing their unique potential.
Jun 12, 2012

JJ's story.

Meet Joyce, affectionately known as JJ. She plays an important role on Sarah's Circle's Board of Directors and is a former client of Sarah's Circle.

JJ worked for thirty five years in the Trauma Unit of Cook County Hospital. While she worked hard every day and at many night shifts, she found time on the side to pursue her passion for cosmetology. In fact, she attended school part-time and received a full scholarship. Her true passion, she still says, is cosmetology and doing hair. She worked full-time at the hospital while working part-time at a salon to pursue her more creative talents.

But a traumatic experience in 2002 was a turning point in JJ’s life. When she returned home from work one day, her son beat her so intensely that she was left physically and mentally traumatized. “I didn’t even know who I was after that. I was so lost. I couldn’t believe my son would beat me like he did. His eyes were so cold... like he was on drugs.” After this crisis, she was so traumatized and in such physical and emotional pain that she couldn’t go back to work. “From my job, I never got any closure. The reason I left [so abruptly] is because of the trauma I had.” Subsequently, she lost everything financially and could no longer afford her apartment.

After she was released from the hospital, she stayed in an Interim Housing Program in the Uptown neighborhood in Chicago. This was when she also started coming to Sarah’s Circle for daytime supportive services.

“I went to – and still go to – the trauma, mood management, and art therapy groups at Sarah's Circle. Art therapy really calms me down. Mood management helps me deal with my anxiety. Trauma group helps me realize other people have experienced it, and it makes me feel like I’m not alone.”

While a local agency helped JJ secure transitional housing for 2 years, she was unsatisfied with the arrangements and did not have the option to choose where she lived. She became involved in an advocacy campaign in support of getting affordable housing in Uptown. She applied to become a resident at an Uptown apartment building, was accepted, and became a resident. This is where she has been living for the past 2 years. “I like my place. I chose the apartment I wanted.”

“The first 2 years I came here I couldn’t comprehend or stay focused because of the trauma I had been through. Attending the different groups at Sarah's Circle really helped me. Every time I go through my depressed phase, Sarah’s Circle helps me. I always know I have a place to come where I feel safe.”

JJ was the oldest of 11 children. “I always had the responsibility of taking care of my siblings. Now I’m 69 and I just need to take care of myself. It’s uncomfortable; I have to learn how to take care of just Joyce. I’ve learned to jot things down and stay focused and work on socializing more. I’m participating in a walking club through my building.” She's also a very active member of the community.

“Sarah’s Circle has helped me love myself more, and I’ve learned that when I need help, I should let someone know. I know that I can always come to Sarah’s Circle for help.”

Thank you for your support of Sarah's Circle. 

Apr 19, 2012

Looking Forward to Our New Home

Thank you for your support of A New Home for Sarah’s Circle! As we continue moving forward with this project, we’re eager to soon begin renovation of our new building. While in our last project report we expected to begin construction in March, the process is taking longer than we originally anticipated. We plan to begin construction shortly.

Each day we look forward to having a new space for our programs, administrative offices, and ten units of permanent supportive housing for ten chronically homeless women. Your support of our new home will help make it possible for Sarah’s Circle to help record numbers of women who need our services, provide individualized services in a space designed specifically for those services, and increase our capacity to provide permanent supportive housing to women with a disability who have been chronically homeless. Thank you again for supporting this project.

Sarah’s Circle is still raising funds for technology, apartment furnishings, and moving costs for the new building. Funds raised through the fall will be used for these costs.

Also, we’re excited to share with you our 2011 annual report! In the link below you’ll find a PDF of the report that reviews our accomplishments, future plans, and stories of some women who have found support at Sarah’s Circle.

Mar 13, 2012

Meet Tina.

Tina Housed
Tina Housed

Tina is a compassionate woman who enjoys caring for others. For years she worked as a Certified Nurse's Assistant, dedicated to the patients she helped.


Quietly, though, she struggled in a physically and verbally abusive relationship with her boyfriend at the time. This relationship was not her first time dealing with abuse. As a teenager, Tina was also abused by her mother.


Tina became homeless in 2008 when she lost her job and left her boyfriend. Since then she has received help with her depression through clinical services at Sarah's Circle. In large part, her depression is rooted in a long history of trauma and domestic violence.   


Where is Tina now?


She's housed. Through a mutual effort with a case manager, Tina earned her high school diploma and obtained permanent housing last year. She's now working towards earning her medical billing certificate.
"I don't think I could've done this without Sarah's Circle. They've encouraged me, counseled me, and brought out the best in me."


Tina is one of many success stories at Sarah's Circle.


Sarah's Circle's Housing Coordinator placed 60 women in permanent housing in 2011.


Thanks to donors like you, Tina and women like her have rebuilt their lives. 


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