Lazarus House is Changing Lives
Because there is no one "face" to homelessness, this page is dedicated to all of the incredible Guests at Lazarus House. Read on to see the strength and courage they demonstrate as they work to transform their lives.
And when you're done reading, join us in our mission to help people in need get back on their feet. Give help today – and help us end homelessness forever.
Rent Assistance to Get Back on Her Feet
"When I was referred to Lazarus House by my landlord, I was 4 months behind on rent, I had no job and no income. I am a single woman with no dependents and under the age for any assistance for the elderly. My electricity was shut off and it was just a matter of time before my gas would be shut off as well.
I was greeted with open arms and could tell that the people there really cared. I fill out a lot of paperwork trying to qualify me for a program that best fit my needs. I was given the means to turn my electric back on, I was given food and personal items, household items and the means to reach out to other programs in the area to further help me. I was assigned a case worker who worked very hard on helping me get in the current program I am on. They paid my back rent and after I secured a job they continue to pay a large portion of my rent. I pay a percentage of my income and they pay the rest.
Now with all my bills current, I am working 2 jobs, and I can say I am only a couple of months away from graduating from the program. Lazarus House not only helped me get caught up, they helped me become self-sufficient for the long haul. They don't treat you like a number but as a person who hit a hard patch in life. They give you the tools and the means and I did the work! I am back on my feet and I owe it all to Lazarus House."
Domestic Violence Survivor
"Abigail" arrived to Lazarus House after having fled a very dangerous domestic violence situation. To make matters worse, she was also in the process of recovering from significant surgery for a recent cancer diagnosis.
"Abigail" was well educated and, according to her, "used to be someone" – but her current life situation seemed to have robbed her of her identity and any sense of who she used to be or wanted to be moving forward. She was very skeptical of being at Lazarus House and uttered only a few words here and there the first couple of weeks, making no progress on any of her goals. Then, one day, she walked into my office and was wearing makeup and had a bright smile and a long list of things that she had accomplished.
She verbalized not having felt this good about herself in a long time. She said that she just needed to be able to feel safe at night and sleep. With sleep, she was better able to focus and do things that needed to be done. She just never knew where to start and didn’t have anyone to help her problem solve the necessary tasks she needed to do. "Abigail" is now moving forward to regain her life.
Coping with Mental Health Challenges
"Kenneth" arrived as a Lazarus House Emergency Shelter guest in the summer of 2015 after being released from a mental health hospital. He struggled with his condition and left Lazarus House about one month later for another hospitalization. After that stay was completed, he did not return to Lazarus House but chose to live outside in a park and unfortunately spent a few weeks in jail.
In the fall, we were pleased that "Kenneth" returned to the safety of Lazarus House once again. He worked closely with his Emergency Shelter case manager, who helped him connect with local mental health services. Importantly, he remained medication compliant and found part-time employment.
"Kenneth" made progress and, in January of this year, was accepted as a resident in the Lazarus House Center for Transitional Living. After two months, the transition to permanent housing occurred. "Kenneth" moved into a one-bedroom apartment managed by the agency which supplies his mental health services. They not only supply "Kenneth" with housing but also case management, nursing services, therapy, medication, and psychiatrist services. We miss "Kenneth" and are thrilled that we played a part in his progress.
Young Mother in Turmoil
Resilient is how I describe "Molly". Her life and that of her son "Nick" have transformed over the many months they called Lazarus House home. She was a very young mom, arriving at the doors of our Emergency Shelter with a baby in tow and a life in turmoil, the result of a strong addiction to alcohol. Her loving family had exhausted themselves in their efforts to help her get her life on track. Entering Lazarus House was the turning point.
Through her very hard work and determination, and in partnership with her Case Manager, other staff and countless volunteers, "Molly" prepared and strengthened herself for their future. "She stayed for several months in our shelter as she prepared herself for employment. She stuck with it and consistently progressed within services needed to address her challenges.
Eventually, "Molly" moved to our Center for Transitional Living, where she continued her journey to prepare for independence by paying off old debt and clearing up past legal issues. She regained driving privileges and even purchased her own car. She sought improved employment with tenacity. Once one job was secured, she continued her efforts to secure an even better job with higher wages and benefits. She attained that goal and then became laser-focused on saving money and preparing her and "Nick" for a life fully re-integrated back into her community.
We are grateful to report that this past spring “Molly” and “Nick” moved to their own apartment. “Molly” has a job that pays a living wage. This small, but mighty family of two now has a promising and secure future.
"Matthew" was a young homeless Marine veteran who had been estranged from his father for nearly a decade. He arrived at Lazarus House in need of food, shelter and employment.
His case manager worked with "Matthew" to secure employment and helped him to create a budget and savings account. After some time with us, "Matthew" left our shelter for housing back out in the community. He called his case manager after many months later and shared that through the support and encouragement he received during his time in shelter, he had started to rekindle the relationship with his father, found better full-time employment as an area store manager and had secured his own apartment in the Tri-city area. He credited the support, education and tools he received at Lazarus House for his new life.
Finding a Lost Identity
One day, the St. Charles Police Department brought a man named "Charlie" to Lazarus House. "Charlie" literally had nothing but the clothing on his back. He had no picture ID, no birth certificate, no social security card, no money, no job and no medical insurance. He had absolutely nothing.
"Charlie" shared with his case manager that, numerous years before, he had been evicted from his apartment while working out of state on a month-long job as a laborer. During the eviction, his entire life was thrown into a dumpster and by the time he returned home, he had lost everything.
Unable to prove his identity, "Charlie" was forced to spend the next several years as an undocumented worker. Without basic identification, "Charlie" was unable to receive medical care or other critical services most people take for granted. Of course the largest long-term challenge was that Charlie was unable to secure legal employment.
After much pleading and cajoling during multiple visits to both the Social Security Administration office, the Illinois Secretary of State’s office and writing the California Department of Public Health, we were able to obtain “Charlie’s” social security card, state identification card and California birth certificate. Today, "Charlie" has medical insurance and is working a full-time job. He has a new zeal for life which he did not have when he first entered our shelter. A few times now, "Charlie" has walked up to me as he holds his State ID in-hand and says "I'm somebody thanks to you!" "Charlie" is just one of many success stories we have had the privilege of being a part of here at Lazarus House and this is in thanks to our wonderfully generous donors.