"My mother was my support system, and she's gone now. I really needed to find something where I could make enough money to support myself, and Sarah's Circle helped me do that." - "Carla"
Carla is in her early 20's and grew up in New York but came to Chicago to go to college. About two years into her education, Carla's mother passed away suddenly, and Carla had to take a break from school. Unfortunately, jobs were hard to come by. At the time Carla was living with roommates, but when she fell three months behind in rent, she had to leave. That's when Carla entered Sarah's Circle's Interim Housing Program.
Carla's case manager helped her create an individualized service plan and connected her with employment services and agencies. Finally, Carla was able to secure a job in customer service, and she was quickly promoted to team leader. She's been employed for about two months and is searching for a market-rate apartment. "I have the money now, but you have to get approved. I'm very young, so my credit and rental history are a problem," Carla explains. Carla is excited to have her own apartment and is already budgeting to pay her debts and then save, so eventually she can go back to school to finish her degree.
Our Interim Housing Program is a 50-bed shelter for women who are homeless. The program provides 24-hour shelter and supportive services designed to move women directly into permanent housing as quickly as possible. The target length of stay is 120 days; however, Sarah's Circle operates from a harm reduction philosophy, taking in all unaccompanied women in need of shelter and continuing to work with them until they achieve their goals. The program is the largest of its kind in Chicago and has very few barriers to entry, meaning we often serve as an entry point for women who are newly homeless.