Sometimes the call comes in the silence of the night. Sometimes it’s during the bustle of the midday. Whenever the WINGS crisis line rings, someone is there to answer. Someone is there to console, to inform- when immediate shelter is needed- to welcome each family when they arrive at the Safe House door.
The Safe House is open 8,760 hours per year. It is the only emergency domestic violence shelter in northwest Cook County- a service area whose population exceeds 1 million. The Safe House gives abused women and their children a secure environment while they determine the steps necessary to move toward self-sufficiency and a life free from violence. In addition to shelter, food and supplies, WINGS provides advocacy and guidance for Safe House residents during their stay, which may last up to 90 days; the average stay is about six weeks. WINGS staff members are trained in crisis intervention and are available on site 24 hours a day, every day of the year. The building is secured according to the highest safety standards. The address and all identifying information about residents are kept in strict confidence. When guests leave the Safe House, they have the option of moving into a WINGS transitional home or apartment where they can obtain rent assistance and further support.
Services available at the Safe House include:
~ Shelter, three meals per day, and basic clothing and hygiene needs
~ A 24-hour phone hotline
~ Emergency assessment and referral for clients who enter the Safe House with injuries
~ In-house crisis counseling
~ Education about rights under the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (IDVA)
~ Expert assistance in filing an Order of Protection
~ Education about power and control and the cycle of violence
~ Individualized safety planning and abuse documentation sessions
~ Psycho-educational and support groups
~ The Children & Family Services Program, which provides safe avenues for youth to express their feelings via art therapy classes, play groups and social activities
~ Case management for women and children regarding long-term affordable housing options, including WINGS’ homes and apartments
Along with public funding, in order to meet clients’ needs, WINGS turns to the efforts of the volunteers as well as the generosity of the businesses, clubs, United Way contributors, resale store donors, customers, special event attendees, individual benefactors, and foundations.
WINGS helps the abused women and children move toward self-sufficiency and a life free from violence. The Safe House is the agency’s first step in helping our women transform from victims to survivors.