Due to COVID-19, WINGS Metro Staff began working staggered hours to meet the needs of the clients, having chosen not to house clients in nearby hotels.
“I felt protected and cared for by the Metro Staff; moving into my own apartment is bittersweet.”
– WINGS Metro Client
“I feel COVID-19 has made the staff closer, we even have monthly self-care potluck lunches together. COVID-19 has been devasting; however, the George Floyd death had a huge impact on WINGS Metro as several staff neighborhoods were destroyed by the looting of grocery stores, Walgreens, and Ma and Pa stores that are now gone.”
– Senior Manager WINGS Metro
Hospital Outreach Program
Due to COVID-19, WINGS Hospital Outreach Program transitioned completely to virtual, providing services to patients and clients via phone. Domestic Violence educational trainings for hospital staff are done through webinars and virtual lunch and learns using various technological platforms of the hospitals.
One client described COVID-19 times as the loneliest she ever felt outside of leaving her abuser and going through the divorce and child custody process; saying it was good to talk with a WINGS Hospital Coordinator.
Suburban Safe House
In the months before the Shelter in Place Order, the Suburban Safe House had quick turnarounds housing clients and COVID-19 did not stop that pace. In total, 16 adult clients were able to get their own apartments, several with the lease in their name, during the last half of Fiscal Year 2020.
When the seriousness of COVID-19 set in, WINGS moved clients out of the Suburban Safe House and into a hotel for safety reasons. One client was very nervous and afraid to be alone without staff support. Having struggled with doubting her own capabilities, this situation pushed the client to see how much she actually could conquer on her own. When it was safe, she moved into a WINGS Shared Home.
A WINGS Safe House client during the initial COVID-19 crisis shared, “I wished I had known about WINGS sooner. I tried to ask my family for help, but they didn’t acknowledge the hurt I was going through, often discrediting my domestic violence. I am so grateful for the services WINGS was able to give to me and my children. We even received clothes from WINGS Resale Stores and other needed supplies. GRATEFUL is an UNDERSTATEMENT.”
“Two weeks into the closing of the Suburban Safe House due to COVID-19, I received a call from a past guest. She was concerned that WINGS would have to shut the program down and couldn’t imagine what people like herself would do if the Safe House closed. She was relieved when I told her we were still operating, just a little differently. She shared what an impact the program made on her and her family, and that she currently lives in her own condo without fear of being found by her abuser.”
– WINGS Manager of Safe House Services
The Coordinated Entry (CE) Domestic Violence (DV) Program began this year and does intakes for those interested at WINGS Suburban Safe House. In addition, WINGS partners with NW Compass and Journeys the Road Home to provide services to any of their clients experiencing domestic violence; as well as does CE intakes for anyone calling the intake line who is homeless and has experienced DV and is in suburban cook county. During the Shelter in Place Order, there was a lot of movement and a really big push to get people housed.
The staff continued to move people in and out of apartments as they moved out of the Transitional Housing Program. In addition, as several clients lost their jobs or were furloughed, their rent was waived, and Family Advocates helped them file unemployment and receive assistance through grants to cover other bills and needs. Family Advocates also did a lot of work around food deliveries, often being out in the community picking up and delivering food to clients.
“We are grateful we can continue providing services in a safe way and grateful that technology allows us to host groups without the fear of anyone getting sick from COVID-19.”
– WINGS Family Advocate
When COVID-19 began, each child in the program was given a “counseling box” containing paper, colored pencils, crayons, fidget toys, construction paper, scissors, glue, wooden sticks, and molding clay to be used during video sessions with their Child Advocate.
Since COVID-19, there has been an increase in the number of children’s groups held due to easier access using video Go-to-Meetings over in-person meetings. These groups include ones for young children and their parents, groups for 8-12-year-olds, and groups for teens. The groups include various activities, art, discussions, yoga, and moving of their bodies.
Since COVID-19, we added a Spanish-speaking video Parenting Class. Previously, we never had enough Spanish-speakers in one location to do a class, but now using video, we can include parents from all of our WINGS locations in a class.
“I gave counseling boxes to my client’s children yesterday, you should have seen their faces – pure joy.”
– WINGS Child Advocate
In honor of WINGS 35th Anniversary, the Day of Giving was launched on April 25th resulting in over $18,000 given by 141 donors, many new to WINGS!
Thank you, Mary Jo for making beautiful masks for WINGS clients!
Thank you Cathy (pictured above) for making hundreds of masks for WINGS adults and children since April!