One of HOW’s core values is integrity. As such, we acknowledge the unique experience of each person and demonstrate respect, trust, fairness, and transparency. Every client served through our housing and support services has their own experience of homelessness or housing instability and has been exposed to trauma, poverty, or violence. Through HOW’s one-on-one case management model, and additional health, youth, and employment programs, clients select the specialized attention and support they need to thrive.

91% of clients live below the federal poverty threshold with an average monthly household income of $770.45.​​

71% of adults reported at least one disability or health condition when arriving at HOW.

84% of clients are people of color, 94% of whom are Black or African American.

93% of family households are female-led.

1,210 people, including 497 children, were served.

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Client Distribution Map

*Suburbs percentages listed are totals of the North and South Suburbs combined.

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Percentage of Households Served

84%
of clients reported
HOW’s program is helping
them make progress
towards their goals.

99%
of Permanent
Supportive Housing
clients have maintained
housing for 12 months
or longer.

87%
of clients reported that
their Case Manager is
helpful and responsive
to their needs.

A Year Like No Other

2020 was filled with immense change and challenge, yet HOW remained steadfast in our mission to empower individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness through housing and support. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the reality that housing serves as a protective factor and improves health outcomes and saves lives. This was the case for the 1,200+ people served by HOW who experienced extremely low rates of infection even though they were among those most vulnerable. Embodying HOW’s value of innovation, the agency creatively adapted our work to safely continue providing critical resources and services last year.

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Youth Services

In 2020 HOW focused on families and prioritized their health and education. Over 100 families were assisted by HOW’s Youth Services team in securing WiFi and devices to participate in remote learning. The team connected students with tutors via Zoom and hosted online enrichment meetings encouraging students to socialize and focus on their mental wellbeing. For families needing additional assistance, one-on-one support was provided to ensure children’s learning and emotional needs were being met.

95%
of youth surveyed in HOW housing are up-to-date with doctor wellness visits.

121
students were served during the 2019-20 school year.

383
clients engaged with
HOW employment and/or
education activities

111
clients participated in workforce development programs

$13.98
is the average hourly rate of employed clients.

HOW’s Employment Program (HEP) found success early after transitioning its programming online in the spring. A stifled economy caused an increase in job loss amongst clients, so the Employment Team responded by focusing its efforts on industries that were hiring and connecting with new employment partners regarding open positions. In addition to one-on-one support, HEP hosted regular workforce development trainings including a monthly intensive five-day Job Readiness course.

Employment Services

Health Services

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 the busiest year yet for HOW’s Health Team as they helped clients with: navigating virtual care, changes to insurance, rapid response education, medication compliance, securing personal care items and more. They provided crucial assistance in securing health care coverage and additional benefits, such as SNAP and mental health resources. These efforts were invaluable in keeping clients safe and healthy. 100% of HOW clients received health and prevention support related to COVID-19 from their Case Managers.

117
clients received extensive health care coordination

97%
of assessed HIV+ clients reported they have maintained or improved their health

88%
of clients have health insurance