Our History

Established in 1985, WINGS provides a pathway to independence for people whose lives have been disrupted by domestic violence. WINGS got its start as a non-profit housing agency. We provide emergency safe shelter and transitional housing for victims of domestic violence. We also help families who are in crisis meet basic needs for items such as food and clothing. WINGS has evolved over time, growing so that we are able to help a greater number of people.

Escaping the cycle of violence, however, requires more than just a safe place to live. WINGS has continued to expand so that we can address the specific needs of the individuals and families we serve. Many different kinds of support are needed to help them move away from violence and towards safety and self-sufficiency. Today, WINGS is able to connect clients with a wide range of services such as counseling, legal assistance, mentoring, life skills support and career services.

Making the courageous decision to leave an abusive relationship is the first step in a difficult journey. Our goal as an agency is to provide all of the tools and supports needed to ensure that families have what they need to move towards safety, independence and self-sufficiency. Thanks to WINGS, there is a way out. No one is alone.

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1980's

1985 - WINGS is Founded

Group of volunteers including Louis Tosto, Ed Geiss, Edith Hovius and Ed Boggio from St. Marcelline Church in Schaumburg joins together to respond to the growing issue of homelessness in the Northwest suburbs and in particular to meeting the needs of women and children.

1986 - WINGS Incorporates

The group incorporates and begins calling itself the “Housing And Shelter Program,” (HASP) through collaborations with the Northwest Suburban Council for Community Service and Alexian Brothers Medical Center.

1989 - The Organization Changes It's Name

Name changes to WINGS, “Women In Need Growing Stronger.”
1990's

1990- First Residence

WINGS establishes its first residence in Des Plaines, Illinois.

1994 - Home is Donated to WINGS

Ed and Jean McCabe donate a home to WINGS in Park Ridge.

1999 - WINGS Grows its Number of Shelters

WINGS establishes a total of nine locations throughout the Northwest suburbs (Des Plaines, Niles, Park Ridge, Barrington, Hoffman Estates and Palatine).

Drs. Chilllikamarri and Akhila Yeshwant donate home in Barrington.

2000's

2000 - WINGS Resale Shop Opens

First WINGS Resale Shop opens in Palatine.

Schaumburg House opens.

2001 - WINGS Continues to Gorw

WINGS expands to 13 shelters, apartments and homes located in Des Plaines, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Park Ridge, Barrington and Palatine.

Mount Prospect Community Resources staff office and apartment is donated by the Lutheran Church of Martha and Mary.

2002 - WINGS Grows the Number of Shelters to 17

WINGS expands to 17 apartments and homes scattered throughout Barrington, Des Plaines, Hoffman Estates, Schaumburg, Park Ridge, Arlington Heights and Palatine.

2003 - WINGS Opens A Skokie Location

WINGS Skokie building opens.

WINGS expands to 18 apartments and homes located in Arlington Heights, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect and Barrington.

2005 - WINGS Opens in Rolling Meadows

Safe House in Rolling Meadows opens.

WINGS resale shop opens in Niles.

2006 - WINGS Grows the Number of Shelters to 24

WINGS expands to 24 apartments and homes located in Chicago, Skokie, Des Plaines, Park Ridge, Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates, Mount Prospect, Arlington Heights, Palatine and Barrington.

2007 - WINGS Opens Another Resale Shop

Schaumburg WINGS resale shop opens.
2010's

2010 - WINGS Celebrates 25th Anniversary

WINGS celebrates its 25th Anniversary.

Palatine WINGS resale shop is destroyed by electrical fire.

Temporary WINGS resale shop opens in a warehouse in Palatine donated by Mel Boldt, a WINGS leadership board member.

“Women of WINGS” (WOW) is founded to support WINGS through fundraising and raising greater awareness about domestic abuse.

New WINGS resale shop opens in Palatine.

WINGS reaches a milestone of providing 40,000 nights of shelter. 

2012 - WINGS Celebrates 25th Anniversary

WINGS hosts ribbon cutting ceremony for Canning House in Palatine.

2016 - WINGS Metro Opens

WINGS Metro opens.

WINGS Logistics Center opens.

Palatine resale shop moves to Arlington Heights.