Since its founding in 1983, HOW has empowered thousands of clients to break the cycle of poverty and achieve permanent housing, long-term economic stability, and empower them toward lifelong self-sufficiency.

Shelter from the Storm

Alicia and her five children found themselves homeless after she quit her job to care for her sick mother. Alicia’s mother eventually died and with nowhere to go and no income, the family was forced onto the streets. After living in a homeless shelter for a few months, Alicia thought they would never have a place to call home again. Then, they were connected to HOW through a transitional program and life started looking up. They moved into an apartment made available through HOW’s subsidized housing program and Alicia eventually found a job using HOW’s employment services. One of HOW’s partners, Baird & Warner, even provided the family with furniture to fill their new home. Alicia continues to work; one of her daughters is attending Loyola University and another is a high school honor student.  It’s amazing what some shelter can do. 

More than 90% of HOW’s permanent supportive housing clients have retained that housing.

From the Bottom Up

Victoria traveled a long way up—up from 26 years of heroin addiction and the pain and agony that it caused her and her loved ones.  With HOW’s help she has been sober for five years and is currently a sponsor for recovering addicts at Haymarket Recovery Center and the Mustard Seed. She is also a keynote speaker at a number of recovery venues. Victoria has been gainfully employed for five years now.  She is also completing educational classes in chemical dependency to fulfill her goal of becoming a licensed drug and alcohol counselor.  

Building a New Life 

Zella works for a Chicago construction company, but her greatest re-building project was her life.  After being victimized through years of domestic violence, Zella and her four young children came to HOW in search of a new life. HOW helped Zella secure permanent housing and a permanent future.  While she is busy raising roof beams, her children attend school in Indiana.  All are busy building a better future. 

Approximately 70%* of clients are survivors of domestic and/or family violence.

*Based on self-reporting by clients entering HOW programs, accounting for typical rates of underreporting

Creating a Sense of Home

Growing up in Chicago, Candy was exposed to drugs and violence from an early age. After battling both addiction and homelessness for years she was incarcerated. While at HOW Candy took advantage of the supportive services offered to her and her children, and they all reaped the benefits.  Bolstered by HOW’s programs and resources, her children thrived and their family bond strengthened.


Candy eventually earned her degree and secured her first job at the age of 37. Years later, Candy owns her own home and plans to continue her education next year at Northeastern University taking courses in Nonprofit Management. 

Thriving Together

In 2006 after the loss of her nephew, Angel suffered from a mild stroke due to stress and eventually lost her job as a result. Without an income, Angel and her children moved into a one-bedroom apartment with her mother and then found themselves homeless after her mother passed from a heart attack a few years later. After living in a shelter for two months, the family received an apartment through HOW and immediately became active in the community. Both children enrolled in the Youth Program, and Angel started counseling and returned to school eventually earning her BA in Human Service Management. Today the family is thriving, and in spite of the fact that they are more spread out with several family members in college, they remain closer than ever. 


Housing Opportunities for Women

1607 W Howard St.

Third Floor

Chicago, IL 60626


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