Providing a safe place to live for someone fleeing a violent partner is the first step in the journey towards safety and independence. The sad reality, however, is that there are not enough options to meet the needs of people who need a safe haven.

In 2016, WINGS collaborated with the City of Chicago to open the first domestic violence shelter built in the city in more than a decade. WINGS Metro is located on the southwest side of Chicago. This facility can accommodate 40 individuals on any given night, providing a safe and secure environment for families escaping domestic violence. WINGS Metro features a children’s play room, computer lab, laundry facilities, a private garden and outdoor playground.

WINGS Metro became a reality thanks to the efforts of the City of Chicago, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Greater Southwest Development Corporation, Metropolitan Family Services and Ujamaa Construction. WINGS and its partners came together to transform a former police station into this new emergency shelter. WINGS Metro features a meditation garden named in honor of the late Brenda Sexton, a Chicago Police officer who once worked out of that police station. Sexton was murdered by her boyfriend in 2000.

The opening of WINGS Metro expanded the number of beds available to families seeking shelter in Chicago by more than 35 percent.

WINGS Metro was established with the generous support of many individuals and organizations, including the Chicago Bears, which sponsored the creation of an outdoor playground.

Brenda Sexton Memorial Garden

In August of 2000, Brenda Sexton, a police officer in the 8th Police District of Chicago was murdered in a domestic violence incident in her home. Brenda left behind five young children and five siblings along with many colleagues who were stunned at her brutal death. WINGS, in collaboration with two organizations, turned that building into WINGS Metro and on the property a memorial garden was commemorated in her honor.

The Brenda Sexton Memorial Garden provides a quiet, attractive and peaceful place for residents to relax and reflect.