suzy's caring place
Transitional housing & support services
for survivors of domestic violence
The Suzy’s Caring Place program was developed as a result of Guardian Angel’s experience providing emergency shelter and support services to victims of domestic violence for decades through its Groundwork Domestic Violence Program. Guardian Angel found that there were challenges to service availability beyond emergency shelter stays for many victims and their families. Additional support was needed to break the cycle of violence and to help prevent homelessness or repeat victimization. Due to limited resources, oftentimes victims of domestic violence believed they only had 2 options beyond emergency shelter stay; returning to the home of the offender or homelessness. As a result, Guardian Angel worked diligently to create a transitional housing program specifically for domestic violence victims, to afford them the time necessary to address the economic and emotional consequences of their victimization.
In 2009, Guardian Angel Community Services established – Sue Manner Turk Transitional Living Program – Suzy’s Caring Place to provide transitional housing assistance for up to two years to victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and their children. It was named in memory of Mrs. Sue Turk who served on Guardian Angel’s Board Committees and had a passion for helping victims of domestic violence.
The goal of Suzy’s Caring Place is to reduce the incidence of homelessness among victims of domestic violence. Support services and rental assistance is provided to Suzy’s Caring Place participants, and the rental fee is based on the fair market value of rent costs in the area. Program participants sign leases directly with the landlord, and they sign a Participant Agreement with Guardian Angel that details program expectations. Suzy’s Caring Place participants are responsible for costs of daily living beyond that of the fair market value rental costs covered by the program. Clients provide food for themselves and their children. The program originally offered a 6 -24 month stay; however, these timeframes may vary as they are contingent on the funding sources. Suzy’s Caring Place is a voluntary program and participants may end services at any time, while the aim is to achieve permanent housing before ceasing services in the program.
Participants eligible for assistance through Suzy’s Caring Place are consenting adult survivors (18 and over) and their children (18 and under), who are victims of domestic violence, physical abuse, exploitation, harassment, interference with personal liberty, and/or intimidation, as defined by the Illinois Domestic Violence Act (750 ILCS 60) and are homeless as a result. Participants who are victims of sexual assault and stalking may also be assisted. Participants who do not have children are also eligible for services. Participants must have means to pay for food and utilities. Participants will continue to have 24-hour access to the Groundwork Shelter and staff, along with 24-hour electronic communication with their assigned Case Manager of Suzy’s Caring Place. Family members or significant others who need services may be assisted via referrals to applicable onsite services, and/or offsite services. The scope of the program is to aid individuals who are homeless as a result of fleeing from domestic violence and for whom emergency shelter services are no longer needed. Eligible participants who are referred by GACS Groundwork will have to meet existing requirements and agree to comply with Suzy’s Caring Place Welcome Packet, Participant Agreement, and Client Rights and Responsibilities. Those who resided in an emergency shelter through another agency, are required to provide a referral from the referring agency source. This will confirm compliance as a qualifier to engage in Suzy’s transitional living services.