An Introduction to Deborah’s Place

Since the very beginning of Deborah’s Place, we have been a part of the Old Town community. Back in 1984, an amazing group of women saw a need to assist women experiencing homelessness in Chicago. At that time, the first year-round overnight emergency shelter for unaccompanied women in Chicago opened in Old Town at 1404 ½ N. Sedgwick. Over the years, Deborah’s Place realized that there was a lack of supportive and affordable housing, so we grew and developed new housing programs. By 1995, we moved our overnight shelter, opened a new transitional shelter, and opened up “Deborah’s Place II” apartments at our current address at 1530-32 N. Sedgwick.

At our Sedgwick location we provide three types of housing: Patty Crowley Apartments, Teresa’s Interim Housing, and Dolores’ Safe Haven. The Patty Crowley Apartments provide a permanent home for 39 women with disabilities who have experienced homelessness. These are studio or efficiency units, and the tenants have leases.

Teresa’s Interim Housing is a 10-bed, goal oriented, 120-day interim housing program that helps women experiencing homelessness get back on their feet through structure and safety. Women staying at Teresa’s are provided intense case management to meet goals such as securing stable housing, employment, improved health, etc.

The Dolores’ Safe Haven program provides a safe and supportive environment for 15 women with severe mental illness who have been chronically homeless. This program is more of a congregate living setup, but the units are also permanent housing. While all these programs are different, they are part of the broader Deborah’s Place community, offering women their key to moving on from the experience of homelessness.

As we continue to look forward and grow in Old Town, we want to address some frequently asked questions we receive from the local community:

How do women get housing at Deborah’s Place?

In order to properly house the women we serve, we use the Coordinated Entry System (CES) to fill subsidized, permanent supportive units in the Patty Crowley Apartments and Dolores’ Safe Haven. Women must meet specific qualifications to be placed on the CES list, and when we have an opening, we get referrals from that list. We do not maintain a waiting list of our own, and we don’t accept walk-ins for emergency shelter.

The Teresa’s Interim Housing program gets referrals from the City of Chicago or Catholic Charities. While Teresa’s functions as a temporary shelter for some women, it is a structured program where women have access to a variety of services to help them achieve long-term housing success. As with our other housing programs, we do not maintain a waiting list or accept walk-ins.

Do you charge any fees for housing?

Our permanent supportive housing units are subsidized through government grants. Women who live in our permanent housing must pay 30% of their income towards rent. If they have no income, their entire rental is subsidized. There is no fee at all for women in interim housing. Additionally, women in all Deborah’s Place housing programs receive access to case management, health services and other supports to help them overcome any barriers they might have to securing or maintaining their housing and meeting their basic needs. There is no charge for any of these services.

How can I help people experiencing homelessness and women at Deborah’s Place?

We know that many Old Town residents encounter people on the street in need of housing or emergency services, and sometimes they don’t know how to best help. There is a simple way you can assist someone in crisis. As of January 1, 2021, Salvation Army has implemented a Mobile Outreach Program 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In order to receive emergency assistance or to help someone who is facing a housing emergency, all you need to do is call 311. Once you call 311, Salvation Army will respond to shelter requests around the clock, which includes transportation, triage and the placement of individuals and families in open shelter beds across the city. They also will respond to requests for well-being checks, assist victims of fire or other disasters, like extreme weather events and emergency vacate orders. If you come across someone in crisis and in need of assistance, call 311. It can save a life.

If you would like to help women at Deborah’s Place specifically, please visit our website at to make a monetary donation or look at our in-kind wish list of items we need. We are so grateful to be a part of the generous Old Town community.

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