Mission & History

Our Mission

Deborah’s Place opens doors of opportunity for women who are homeless in Chicago. Supportive housing and services offer women their key to healing, achieving their goals and moving on from the experience of homelessness.

We seek to fulfill our mission through the expression of our core values:

  • We believe that safe, clean and affordable housing is a right.
  • We believe that every woman has the potential to achieve her goals and determine her future.
  • We believe that women heal from life traumas through healthy relationships and a caring, supportive community.
  • We believe that we are stronger when we welcome and celebrate the diversities of the women we serve, our donors, volunteers and staff.
  • We believe in striving for continual growth, development and excellence in the supportive housing and services we provide.
  • We believe that our impact is greatest when we work in collaboration with individuals, organizations and the community at large.

Our History

Since 1985, Deborah’s Place has provided compassionate care to women experiencing homelessness. In that time, we’ve continually improved our programs and services.

Deborah’s Place began by offering emergency overnight shelter in a church gym. Responding to the needs of participants, the overnight shelter was followed with a day program called Irene’s. Here, women could begin healing from trauma through art therapy and other resources.

Following the day program, Marah’s was opened as a transitional housing program in 1988. With Marah’s, Deborah’s Place took an important step towards providing a safe environment 24 hours a day. This strategic direction towards more comprehensive services continued as we began offering case management and developing our first permanent supportive housing, which opened in 1995.

Additional milestones in our history include:

  • 1995: Adding employment programming
  • 2000: Opening the Rebecca Johnson Apartments, our largest housing site with 90 units
  • 2004: Converting the overnight shelter to a 15-bed Safe Haven, designed to serve women with the most challenging barriers to housing
  • 2008: Joining the Rental Housing Support Program to increase housing capacity in the community
  • 2009: Offering onsite health clinics at all three Deborah’s Place locations