- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On August 18, 2022
- celebration of courage, Charity Navigator, Chicago, chicago metropolitan area, Chicago suburbs, children services, children survivors dv, COVID-19, Domestic Violence, domestic violence agency, domestic violence organization, DV agency, DV Hospital Program, dv survivors, End Domestic Violence, family services, Housing Programs, non-profit agencies, Philanthropy, WINGS, WINGS Program
Over Fiscal Year 2022, WINGS experienced milestones, highlights, expansions, and awards throughout the agency’s programming. Learn more about WINGS FY2022 in review.
Amid the COVID-19 crisis, domestic violence victims are at a greater risk for abuse. According to a 2021 Data Report from the Network Advocating Against Domestic Violence, 32,363 contacts were made to the Illinois Domestic Violence hotline in 2021, representing a 9% increase over 2020.
Of these survivors contacting the Hotline, 31% needed shelter. In Chicago, there were 69 days with no shelter beds and 187 days with no cribs.
Despite the increased need, WINGS is committed to its mission to provide housing, integrated services, education, and advocacy to end domestic violence.
- Last fall, WINGS surpassed the milestone of providing one million nights of shelter and safe housing since the agency began assisting survivors in 1985.
- FY2022, WINGS provided 107,110 nights of emergency, transitional and permanent supportive housing, and Rapid Rehousing. This represents the highest total of nights of shelter/housing in a year over our agency’s 37-year history. This increase is in part due to WINGS 110 new Rapid Rehousing units.
Program Highlights and Expansions
WINGS Safe Houses
Open 24 hours, WINGS Safe Houses provide critical emergency shelter as well as resources for stability. In FY2022, WINGS Safe Houses served 393 survivors, including 159 children (62%) with 21,298 nights of shelter. Both the Suburban Safe House and WINGS Metro saw positive outcomes from clients last fiscal year completing an exit survey:
- 95% reported feeling safe.
- 94% felt more knowledgeable of community resources.
- 89% had a positive life outlook.
- 80% felt more financially stable.
- 70% moved to more secure housing including homeownership, private housing, public housing, family/friends, or WINGS Transitional Housing program.
This past year, both Safe Houses were able to have safe in-person celebrations.
- Last summer, WINGS Metro held a Carnival including the famous popcorn machine, finger-painting, water balloons, bubbles, family cookie decorating and carnival games.
- The Suburban Safe House celebrated Hispanic Heritage month with authentic meals and two beautiful pinatas.
- WINGS Metro held a Halloween Party with 18 children showing off their costumes for an enchanted fashion show, spooky crafts, ghostly bingo, and themed snacks.
- The Suburban Safe House celebrated Día de Los Muertos by creating an ofrenda for staff and clients to honor their passed loved ones and played the Disney movie Coco.
FY2022, WINGS Housing programs served 341 survivors including 218 children with 85,812 nights of safe housing.
New – Rapid Rehousing: In collaboration with Apna Ghar, WINGS has received 100 Rapid Rehousing units citywide to decompress domestic violence shelters which have seen increased need. In addition, WINGS received 10 Rapid Rehousing units through a partnership with Northwest Compass to be utilized in the Northwest Suburbs.
Celebration of Courage: This June, WINGS held its annual Celebration of Courage event through a virtual format. Sixteen graduates of WINGS Transitional Housing programs and their children were recognized. One graduate shared:
“In October of 2020, I finally took myself and my children and fled an abusive home to the WINGS Safe House…Not only was it a difficult decision, but the best one I have ever made.
The people that work with this organization are wonderful. They are all there to help and they all understand. I’ve never had anyone help me before…
After I decided to stop resisting the help, I took it seriously and did everything I needed to do. And now a year and a half later, we have our own home…
I have a job, kids are in school, everything is so much better than it was before.
WINGS literally gave us a brand-new life and I would never have thought that was possible.
So please, take it from me, a person who stayed too long in a bad situation. A person who finally did it, and I’m now free. I’m sitting outside my home right now. Stay positive, you’ve got this.”
Children and Family Services
WINGS Children and Family Services program is offered to youth throughout WINGS residential housing programs and provides a continuum of services to children recovering from the trauma of domestic violence.
- 100% of parenting group attendees said they learned new skills and 82% stated they would use information or skills that they learned.
As a result of this programming, speaking-aged children utilizing the services reported the following:
- 90% responded that they could identify two things that they can do to feel safe;
- 83% reported that they understood the violence in their family is not their fault.
New Expansion – Social Enrichment Activities: In FY2022 WINGS added a new feature to the program through private grant funding: Social Enrichment Activities. This funding assists families to overcome cost and transportation barriers to essential appointments and enriching activities. Each child in WINGS residential housing programs can receive a $75 credit towards exploring an activity of their choice.
Through these social enrichment activities, children form connections with peers, access physical and mental health appointments, have outlets for expressing themselves and follow their interests to increase their confidence.
- One parent shared, “Since taking the Karate class, my daughter has been more honest, she is nicer with her peers and has found strength in her body that she was not aware of. She enjoys this activity very much.”
- Of the transportation assistance families have shared:
- “For the first time in a long time, my son was able to go to the dentist.”
- “This allowed me to go to my son’s school to discuss some concerns. At the appointment, some additional services he needed were identified and he was able to start receiving them immediately.”
- “I took my child to the Neurologist for an exam due to his seizure activity.”
Community Based Services
During the pandemic, the agency’s Community Based Services program is assisting survivors in danger to strategize ways to get away from their abuser, seek help and create a safety plan. Community Based Services include:
- Hospital Partnerships – WINGS staff educates healthcare professionals about domestic violence, and offers bedside safety planning, counseling, and referrals to patients. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Hospital Site Coordinators continue to do bedside visits virtually. This program served 45 survivors over FY2022.
- ALAS (Advocating for Latinas Achieving Self-Sufficiency) – Volunteer mentors serve Latinx clients in a culturally competent manner and provide on-site collaborations with local Health and Human Services, police departments and schools. This program served 33 clients over FY2022.
- Project Lifeline – A community mentoring program for graduates of WINGS.
- New Expansion – Survivor Lifeline: Launched Spring 2021, this program provides survivor mentors to clients moving from domestic violence shelters into Rapid Rehousing units.
- New Expansion – A New Direction: Expanding community-based programming, WINGS recently acquired a domestic violence counseling center, A New Direction, in the Morgan Park/Beverly neighborhood.
An award winning and high-performing agency, WINGS has received five consecutive Four-Star Ratings from Charity Navigator. This coveted designation from America’s leading charity evaluator reflects the highest levels of accountability, transparency, and financial strength. The agency has also received GuideStar/Candid’s 2022 Platinum Seal of Transparency by providing information about the organization’s impact and is an Accredited Charity by the Better Business Bureau.
WINGS was just announced to have won three 2022 Purple Ribbon Awards from a national organization: DomesticShelters.Org. Awards include:
- New Service Launch – Survivor Lifeline
- Annual Report/Impact Statement
- Lifetime Achievement Award – Rita Canning
More information on this to come!
Thank you to our Community of Supporters!
As we look toward the future and this coming year, we hope you will join us in our mission. Interested in ways you can make a difference in the life of a domestic violence survivor? Learn more here.