The true measure of a nonprofit's effectiveness is how well it performs its mission. Sarah’s Circle's impact, the outcomes of our work to serve and achieve our mission, include these recent major accomplishments:
• A commitment to continually increase the number of women transitioned from homelessness to permanent housing. Despite dramatic reductions in affordable housing available in the community, Sarah’s Circle helped place 385 women into permanent housing since 2012. We are on track to place 200 women into permanent housing in 2016 and have set a goal to place 1,000 women into housing in five years. We maintain the best practice standard of 85% housing retention after 12 months.
• Creation of the Make It Home Program. Make It Home provides one-time, immediate financial assistance up to $500 per woman needed to either prevent homelessness, or help a woman quickly move from homelessness to permanent housing. This program prevents nominal costs, such as a security deposit or move-in fee, from acting as a final barrier to permanent housing. This program accounted for 25% of the women who were housed in 2015. The cost needed to Make it Home is on average only $382.
• Expansion of our Art Therapy program, a proven intervention for women dealing with past trauma that supports housing stability.
• Meeting the basic human needs of women coming to us for help. Last year we served over 62,000 meals.
• Building operating reserves, both for long term use and current operations to ensure financial stability.
1 in 4
Leading the Midwest 1 in 4 Initiative is a significant and necessary undertaking for Sarah’s Circle. In order to effectively end homelessness for women, there must be more targeted research to understand the specific causes of homelessness and barriers to housing that adult, unaccompanied women face. Although we meet the immediate needs of clients, we must stay focused on permanent solutions to keeping women housed. Please see our 1 in 4 page for more information.
Chicago House Collaboration
Sarah’s Circle and Chicago House are working collaboratively to expand services for transgender women. Chicago’s LGBTQ community is greatly underserved in areas of both health and housing. Thanks to a grant from the LGBT Community Fund, Sarah’s Circle is able to dedicate four beds at our Interim Housing facility for transgender women as well as undergo staff training to ensure that our services are transgender affirming. The women placed at Interim Housing through this collaboration have access to all of Sarah’s Circle’s housing, employment, legal, and mental and physical health resources. Transwomen clients also receive support from a dedicated TransShelter Coordinator from Chicago House who helps connect them with additional trans-specific resources.
Please see our mission page for more information on why we specialize in serving women in need.