January 2021
Latest News
Ending The Year With a Little Help From Our Friends
Thank you to all those who participated!
In a year of unprecedented need, HOW's community stepped up and provided an incredible level of support to our clients. We are overjoyed to share that HOW exceeded its annual fundraising goal. This seemed impossible earlier in the year, with a string of cancelled fundraising events and an unstable economic landscape. Yet, the generosity of HOW's remarkable community prevailed, enabling the agency to raise more than ever through our end-of-year campaign. With every financial contribution or donated gift, community members and supporters helped to ensure 2020 ended on a note of celebration and light for the families and individuals HOW serves. From all of us here at HOW, thank you.

For those who donated through the Holiday Wish drive, your generosity and compassion brought families delight and comfort during one of the most difficult holiday seasons. In 2020 HOW granted a whopping 323 wishes! This was only made possible with the help of:
  • GrubHub, made a donation used to purchase 200 $25 gift cards,
  • The Leno Family, donated gift cards and collected an assortment of toys for HOW's youngest clients through a part of their annual Leno Claus initiative,
  • GiveNKind and RBG Toys, donated toys to spread joy!

Lastly, despite not being able to gather for the annual client parties, the Woman's Club of Evanston and HOW's Associate Board kept the holiday spirit alive by purchasing supplies and assembling 177 at-home party kits for HOW families across the city. 
HOW Client Photo Series
HOW Clients Share What Home Means To Them
HOW operates under the Housing First Model, which ensures individuals experiencing homelessness are housed as quickly as possible, and then provided with tools for success and self-sufficiency. In 2020, the efficacy of this model was proven again as housing served as a protective factor for our clients helping them stay healthy and safe amidst the pandemic. To shed light on the power of a home, HOW has launched its "What Home Means to Me" photo series across Facebook and Instagram. In this series HOW clients invite us in by sharing a photo and description of a item that encapsulates the feeling of home. We invite you to follow HOW on instagram and Facebook to see the weekly posts and engage in the conversation! 
Staff Highlight
Connie Cooper - Director of Housing
"I want housing to be seen as a right, not a privilege," shares Connie Cooper who was promoted to the Director of Housing at HOW last November after working in the agency's housing department for several years. Growing up as an army brat, Connie knows the value of a place to call home and was initially drawn to HOW because of its focus on providing both housing and aide to families. With a background working as a domestic violence advocate and volunteer, she has seen firsthand the role housing plays in helping those who have experienced trauma to achieve stability.

It's this passion for helping others that inspires Connie every day at work as she engages both landlords and tenants to ensure clients have access to safe, clean, and comfortable apartments. When asked about her favorite part of her job, she states, "it's the initial excitement and then the follow through with clients--you get to see HOW's mission and values being lived out loud." Outside of work Connie spends time with her three adult daughters, volunteering at a local women's shelter, serving at her church as a ministry leader, and completing DIY projects around her home. 
Join HOW's Associate Board!
Looking for an ongoing volunteer opportunity which will have an impact? Join HOW's Associate Board, a group of energetic young professionals passionate about the agency's efforts to empower individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness. Associate Board members come from a wide variety of backgrounds and professions and use their unique strengths to promote HOW's work and expand the organization's reach. The group meets (virtually) every third Tuesday of the month and is currently accepting applications. Learn more about the Associate Board and how to apply here
Partnership Highlight - J. Jill Compassion Fund
For almost two decades, HOW has partnered with the J. Jill Compassion Fund which focuses on providing aid to organizations that support and empower women. Through this partnership HOW has received annual grants to help carry out its mission, as well as donated clothing and employment workshops hosted in tandem with HOW's Employment Program. In 2020, J. Jill was one of the lead sponsors of HOW's inaugural virtual 5K where J. Jill team members across the country participated in the event, completing the race, sharing their stories, and fundraising along the way. In 2021 HOW looks forward to another year of collaboration and partnership.

Want to support HOW and the Compassion Fund with a unique Valentine's Day Gift?
The Illinois General Assembly passed two pieces of legislation in its latest session which will directly impact housing and homelessness: the Public Housing Access Bill, and the Illinois Community Reinvestment Act. The first bill modifies the applicant screening process for public housing to promote access and equity. The second will grant more communities of color in urban, suburban, and rural areas access to credit. You can read more about the new legislation here
This week Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) announced it received an award of $40,233,959 from the state to fund the development of permanent supportive housing. These funds with spur a series of new buildings offering 163 units of affordable rental housing. Households using the housing will also have access to an array supportive services from local nonprofits. Learn more here
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Empowering individuals and families to break the cycle of poverty and homelessness.

Since 1983, HOW has been a leader in permanent solutions to homelessness. Through prevention strategies; expanded, affordable, supportive housing; and individualized support services we have helped thousands take back their lives.