“It’s time. I’m scared, but I’m going to do it.”

This was Sonia’s response when I asked her about her upcoming move from Deborah’s Place. She was finishing the last days of packing before her move to an apartment on the Southside of the city. Sonia is one of 14 residents in the past six months who have moved on from Deborah’s Place to more independent living. This is possible through a “moving on” subsidy program provided by the Chicago Housing Authority to encourage residents of supportive housing – like Deborah’s Place operates – to move on if they are ready.

I love the phrases that Sonia used to tell me what was happening.

“It’s time”. Sonia has the self- awareness to realize that there is life after homelessness and Deborah’s Place. She now sees a future beyond the day-to-day struggles of surviving with no place to live, no regular meals and no support.

“I’m scared”. We can all empathize with Sonia’s fear of what is new and unknown. Sonia knows that she has gained skills while at Deborah’s Place – skills like budgeting, anger and addiction management, coping with grief and other life skills. Sonia also knows that the love and community she experienced while at Deborah’s Place will continue after she moves. Sonia will be able to use our Alumnae Services program to stay in touch with a case manager and will be welcomed back for workshops, holiday parties, and other activities.

“I’m going to do it”. Through her work with her case manager and the support of other residents, Sonia learned to respect herself and to make use of the skills that she has worked hard to develop. This gave her courage to do the work that needed to be done in order to successfully move – apartment applications, apartment visits, turning utilities on, choosing her furniture, identifying the nearest grocery store to her new apartment, to name a few.

At Deborah’s Place, Sonia experienced a sense of belonging that brought healing over time. Sonia is an amazing person who did the work and utilized the resources offered at Deborah’s Place – resources that are made possible by people like you.

Many thanks to each of you for your support. You impact Sonia. Your contribution, no matter the amount, makes a difference and together, as we acknowledge 35 years of service this year, we will continue to “do it” – opening doors to a new life for Sonia and others.


Audrey Thomas, CEO

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