- Posted by Sarah Swiston
- On August 23, 2021
- Chicago, Chicago suburbs, children survivors dv, Domestic Violence, domestic violence agency, domestic violence organization, DV agency, non-profit, northwest chicago, WINGS, WINGS Program
The mission of WINGS Program Inc is to provide housing, integrated services, education and advocacy to end domestic violence. We recently completed another fiscal year and have been reflecting on WINGS impact to the Chicagoland area. Read updates and outcomes about how WINGS Suburban Safe House, WINGS Metro Safe House, Housing Programs, Children & Family Services and Community Based Programs progressed over the last year.
Over WINGS fiscal year 2021, the agency served 756 survivors including 354 children. As one of the largest domestic violence agencies in the area, WINGS provided 64,986 nights of safe housing over this time period.
Unfortunately, research shows that incidents like the pandemic and recessions result in an increase in domestic violence, even after the immediate crisis has ended. Throughout the COVID-19 health crisis, WINGS dedicated staff persevered, empowered by our community of supporters and courageous survivors.
While high call volumes to the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline are troubling, we are committed to providing the highest level of services to survivors. Below are positive updates:
WINGS Safe Houses
Open 24 hours, WINGS Safe Houses provide critical emergency shelter as well as resources for stability. Both the Suburban Safe House and WINGS Metro saw positive outcomes from clients last fiscal year completing an exit survey:
- 98% reported feeling safe;
- 95% felt more knowledgeable of community resources;
- 98% had a positive life outlook;
- 91% felt more financially stable; and
- 88% moved to more secure housing including homeownership, private housing, public housing, family/friends or WINGS or Transitional Housing program.
Suburban Safe House
Our Suburban Safe House utilized a hotel-model during the height of the pandemic lockdowns and although families have moved into the Safe House again, we received funding to continue to serve an additional 70 individuals through the hotel-model.
As the percentage of children coming to WINGS Metro rose from 55% to 68% in FY2021, Children’s Advocates began working with youth on-site. Learn more about Children Advocates here.
The Safe House itself had a number of facility updates.
- A children’s library was donated by JWI National Library Initiative with hundreds of brand new, culturally representative books, computers, rugs and furniture.
- WINGS Metro’s kitchen upgraded from residential to commercial appliances as a result of generous donors and grant funding.
- New laminate flooring has replaced worn carpet throughout the building.
Over the last year, WINGS Housing programs have served 173 survivors, including 103 children with over 40,000 nights of safe housing.
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.
Recently, WINGS held its annual Celebration of Courage event through a virtual format. Sixteen graduates of WINGS Transitional Housing programs, along with their children, were recognized. One graduate shared:
“They [WINGS staff] lifted me up when I was down and broken.
They strengthened me when I felt weak.
They gave me courage when I felt defeated.
They gave me hope when my faith was lost.
They inspired me and loved me for who I was and not for my circumstances.
They provided me with support and resources to rise and live again.
WINGS is a true representation of love in our story.”
Children & Family Services
WINGS Children and Family Services program began an 18-month Child-Parent Psychotherapy collaboration training to assist our youngest survivors 0-5 years old decrease their trauma symptoms and increase attachment to their guardian.
Outcomes for WINGS Children & Family Services program include:
- 94% of speaking-aged children at WINGS Safe Houses were able to identify two things they can do to feel safe.
- 85% of speaking-aged children at WINGS Safe Houses reported that they understood the violence in their family was not their fault.
- For children in WINGS Transitional Housing programs, 92% made progress on their service goal plans.
At the end of June, WINGS Metro hosted a Carnival for youth featuring Cosmic Kids Yoga, family cookie decorating, hot dogs, the popular popcorn machine, finger painting, a hula hoop contest, water balloons, bubbles, face painting, carnival games like Bozo’s Buckets and ring toss.
Community Based Services
In addition to housing, WINGS offers Community Based Services for individuals who are experiencing domestic violence separate from our Safe Houses and Housing programs. During the pandemic, the agency’s Community Based Services are taking calls from victims to strategize ways for those in danger 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. During fiscal year 2021, this program served 47 survivors.
- ALAS (Advocating for Latinas Achieving Self-Sufficiency) – Volunteer mentors serve Latinx clients in a culturally competent manner and provides on-site collaborations with local Health and Human Services, police departments and schools. During fiscal year 2021, this program served 34 clients.
- Project Lifeline – A community mentoring program for graduates of WINGS;
- New – Survivor Lifeline: Launched Spring 2021, this program provides survivor mentors to clients moving from domestic violence shelters in Rapid Rehousing units. Forming a connection to a mentor with shared experiences, clients are linked to resources, assisted with budgets to maintain housing and supported in their career aspirations.
Thank You to our Community of Supporters
Recently, a new Chalkboard Affirmation wall was added to a counseling room at WINGS Metro. Children wrote, “I am strong,” “I am smart,” and “I am loved,” and we know our community of supporters contribute to these empowering statements.
Interested in ways you can make a difference in the life of a domestic violence survivor? Learn more here.
As we look toward the future and this coming year, we hope you will join us in our mission. You can #GiveWINGS to help end the cycle of violence. Make a donation here.