This Mother’s Day, Elizabeth will wake up in her own bed—in her own room at our Interim Housing Program and prepare to spend the day with her children. Her two daughters, ages 15 and 10, are currently living with her sister, but Elizabeth is taking big steps toward reuniting her family. 

Just two weeks ago, her world was entirely different. Her home was a nook in front of a vacant store in downtown Oak Park. She would roll out her bedding every night and sleep on the concrete. During the day, she focused on finding a meal and staying safe. Things began to change when a police officer introduced her to Housing Forward’s outreach staff, and they helped her get accepted into the Interim Housing Program.

Elizabeth first became homeless eight years ago. After staying in a shelter, she quickly decided she didn’t want her girls to experience the shelter system. She asked her sister to take them in so that they could enjoy a normal childhood. Her younger daughter cannot remember a time that she lived with her mother.

Although the past eight years have been focused on survival, Elizabeth is now determined to build a better life. With the support of Dannette, her case manager, she is working on important building blocks like sobriety treatment, SNAP benefits and employment. Years of sleeping on the ground have taken a toll on her health and she will soon need to undergo a hip replacement but with regular medical care she is working on getting stronger.

Elizabeth says that the Interim Housing Program is amazing. For the first time in a long time, she can actually envision getting her own apartment and creating a home for her two daughters. She is excited for her future and so are we!