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.
Aug 26, 2015

Permanent Housing Impact

 In 2014 Sarah’s Circle made significant progress both in expanding programmatic capacity and helping women meet their goals. One of our most important measures of success is the number of women placed into permanent housing. Despite dramatic reductions in affordable housing available in the community, Sarah’s Circle helped 92 women move into permanent housing in 2014. Most of these placements came from our Interim Housing Program, which increased the rate of placing women into permanent housing by approximately 30%. The women achieved their goals faster and opened more space in the program to provide shelter and supportive services to other women in need.

 Programmatic capacity was expanded in the Daytime Program by extending hours until 7pm on Thursday evenings. The new meal fills a gap in food availability in the community and provides extra time for engagement and case management with women in need of help who may have other obligations during the workday. Staff also helped women achieve hundreds of goals in addition to housing placements, such as gaining employment, securing benefits, and completing therapy to address past trauma.

 The Permanent Supportive Housing Program helped 100% of the women living in our permanent supportive housing to maintain their housing or to move on to other permanent housing in the community when they no longer needed such a high level of support. Additionally, Sarah’s Circle was able to expand one of the grants for the program to include one additional unit for a total of 22 units, ending homelessness for one more woman in need.  

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Jun 11, 2015

Strengths of Women Served

Strength Collage
Strength Collage

 Women come to Sarah’s Circle with incredible strength and resilience. Most have shown deep fortitude and resourcefulness to survive desperate circumstances. They have also demonstrated a willingness to ask for help and work to rebuild even after so many people in their lives have turned them away.

 Women also have unique individual strengths. An important part of the case management process involves conducting an assessment to determine each woman’s individual strengths and challenges. Service plans are then tailored to the circumstances and goals of each woman. If a woman has skills and interest in food service, the case manager might try to connect her to an employment program focused on that sector. If a woman struggles with a mental illness but has a strength of being able to connect with others, a group therapy setting might be a good fit.

 An important component of Clinical Services is often helping women recognize their own strengths. Homelessness can contribute to depression and a loss of a sense of positive self worth. By coming to appreciate their own strengths, women improve their self-esteem and ability to use those strengths to rebuild their lives. In addition to generating the words used in the “word cloud” pictured on the cover of our annual report, women in an art therapy group created the collage shown above to illustrate their strengths. While women listed many specific strengths, there is an overarching theme of hope, faith, and the ability to stay positive despite so much adversity.

Mar 20, 2015

Sarah's Circle Community

21st Annual Winter Walk
21st Annual Winter Walk

Since our founding in 1979, Sarah’s Circle has been an organization with deep roots in the community. Supporters share their time, skills, financial resources, and social capital with Sarah’s Circle to work towards our mission. That social capital has been crucial in gaining community approval for zoning changes needed for our facilities, increasing online fundraising from new donors for our Winter Walk, and spreading awareness about the complex causes of homelessness in our community.

Our significant growth and tremendous success in completing capital projects in the past several years was only possible with your support. With this growth, we have more staff and expanded services, but community support continues to be critical to accomplishing our mission. Private donations support our essential programs, ensure the Daytime Support Center is open to any woman in need, and help us provide services tailored to the specific needs of women. Individual volunteers present workshops, staff our front desk, serve on committees, and lead on our board. Groups as diverse as the Diversey Yacht Club, Edgebrook Lutheran Church, and Robert Morris University - Illinois Volleyball team have served meals, assembled beds, painted walls, hosted program events, and raised funds. Our community is expanding with our programs, but the mission remains the same. Together we help women rebuild their lives.  

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