About the Organization
How was Lazarus House started and why?
Lazarus House opened its doors in June 1997. Founder Darlene Marcusson realized that there were "hidden" homeless people from our community. As she brought recognition to the fact that people were giving the appearance of living "normal" lives but really sleeping in their car or shelters in communities 10 miles or more away, Lazarus House began operations.
Where are you located?
We lease space from the St. Charles Free Methodist Church, 214 Walnut Street, St. Charles. The church is at the corner of Walnut and Third streets (one block south of Hwy 64 and one block west of Hwy 31.) Our entrance is on the Third Street side of the church.
How is Lazarus House unique?
- Lazarus House serves men, women and children. It is the only shelter available in the Tri-Cities area and western rural Kane County.
- Lazarus House provides a variety of services through its three main programs:
- The Emergency Shelter (with a Women and Children's Day Center)
- The Center for Transitional Living
- The Outreach/Homeless Prevention Program
These programs, and the support of more than 50 social service agencies, help provide the specific services needed by each person and family. At Lazarus House professional staff assist homeless persons and those at risk of homelessness in assessing their needs and developing goals to retain or regain their independence.
- The unique cornerstone of Lazarus House is our focus on case management. Our shelter does not close its doors and ask guests to leave each morning. Rather, for those who do not leave for employment or school, our guests remain with us allowing our professional Case Managers to partner and work with them to address each person's unique needs, assess for appropriate services and coordinate with our network of over 50 other service providers in meeting those needs.
- A national effort is in place to create community-based Continuums of Care. A Continuum of Care is a community plan to deliver housing and services to meet the specific needs of people who are homeless as they move to stable housing and maximum self-sufficiency.
- In addition, the State of Illinois Comprehensive Housing Plan identifies priorities for the development of affordable housing and related supportive services for those most in need. The plan identifies very low-income households, low-income senior citizens, low-income persons with disabilities, and the homeless as its four top priority areas. Lazarus House serves these four groups. Having emergency shelter, transitional housing and homeless prevention provides a unique and cost effective continuum of solutions to the varied problems of homelessness.
What percentage of your expenses is administration?
- Administrative expenses in fiscal year 2016 were 8.3%. However, if volunteer time and food donations were taken into account on our financial statements the overhead would be less.
- Administrative expenses in fiscal year 2015 were 10%. However, if volunteer time and food donations were taken into account on our financial statements the overhead would be less.
- Administrative expenses cover: planning and managing the growth and variety of programs offered; obtaining added funding from foundations, government agencies, businesses, and individuals; complying with the increased financial complexity of grant making institutions.
How long has your organization been in existence? What is the history of your organization?
Please see our About page to learn more about our organization.
Is Lazarus House a faith-based organization?
Lazarus House is a gift from God, people of all faiths or no faith are welcome. Bible studies and worship services are offered but not required.
From what sources do you derive funding?
- Lazarus House receives funding from several different sources at the Federal, State and local levels.
- Federal Government Grants include Kane County Community Development Block Grant, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
- The Illinois Department of Human Services provides us with funding at the State level for Rental Assistance, Homeless Youth and general operating purposes. Other State level funding comes from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Housing Development Authority.
- Local community funding comes through several sources including the St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia Community Chest/United Ways, 708 Mental Health Boards, several Foundation Grants, and numerous churches and individual contributions.
What donations do you/don't you accept?
We accept perishable foods, items from our needs list, and financial gifts. Due to space constraints, we are not typically able to accept clothing donations, furniture or household items. Please see our Donations page for more details.
When can I drop off donations?
Donations may be dropped off at the main entrance between the hours of 8 am and 9 pm Mondays through Saturdays or 5 to 9 pm Sundays. When possible, we recommend avoiding Sundays and noon-1 pm and 7-8 pm weekdays when it takes longer for staff to answer the door.
How is food provided?
Daily meals at Lazarus House are provided by a wide network of church and community support. Food is supplemented with donations from restaurants, grocers and businesses.
Does Lazarus House have a food pantry?
No, Lazarus House keeps a limited supply of pantry items on hand and primarily serves perishable foods. If you would like to donate pantry items, please consider donating to the Tri-Cities Salvation Army pantry in St. Charles, or Batavia Interfaith Food Pantry, or St. Peter's pantry in Geneva, or the Batavia Interfaith pantry in Batavia, or the Elburn food pantry in Elburn. Please see our Donations page for more details.
Do you need volunteers?
Absolutely. Lazarus House would not survive without the time and talent of volunteers. Volunteers are critical to our operations. Please see our Volunteer page for more information.
How many volunteers does Lazarus House have?
- We estimate that about 1,900 volunteers assist the program each year with over 16,000 hours of labor. They prepare and serve meals, or assist our staff with operational and administrative support, and on a variety of special projects.
- The food provided at Lazarus House, over 4,650 meals each month, is donated by churches, individuals and local businesses.
- More than 40 churches or community groups provide volunteers in any given month.
- Lazarus House has received the Illinois Governor's Hometown Award, recognizing the impact of volunteerism on the community.
About Who We Help
Who can stay at Lazarus House?
People who are homeless and are connected to St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and western rural Kane County through previous address, jobs, close relatives or school, should Contact us to determine if Lazarus House is an appropriate place for them.
What is the average number of people that stay at Lazarus House in a year?
The average number of persons served per night (on a calendar year basis) increased from 28 in fiscal year 1999 to 63 in fiscal year 2009, an all-time high. In fiscal year 2016, due in part to grant-funded rental subsidies, the average number of guests was 49. Thanks to available rental subsidies that assist qualifying low-income persons, some households are able to return to permanent housing earlier than they would have otherwise. We continue to pursue rental assistance grants to help prevent people from losing their housing.
How long can people stay at Lazarus House?
Every new guest is asked to sign a simple behavior agreement and encouraged to set goals and work with their case manager. As long as they are keeping the agreement, making progress on their goals and working with their case manager; it is expected by the end of six months, guests have either moved to independent housing, have graduated to the Center for Transitional Housing or have become enrolled in one of of the Outreach programs.
How do people qualify to stay in the Center for Transitional Living?
- To qualify to stay at in the CTL, the person must be a guest in the Emergency Shelter and demonstrate an ability to stabilize their lives, and an interest in taking the next step in returning to permanent housing.
- Qualifying guests will have a semi-private sleeping room for which they pay modest rent (10% of their income, which helps cover the cost of housing and utilities).
- Guests can stay in the CTL for up to two years, provided they consistently follow their occupancy agreement. During this period they are provided strong case management to help them address the issues causing homelessness and to support them in returning to successful independent living in permanent housing.
About How We Help
What help does Lazarus House provide?
- Safe shelter, food, personal hygiene items and shower and laundry facilities, clothing through the local clothes closet, health care through a local free clinic and other local funding.
- Case management and referrals to the homeless and those at risk of homelessness with the goal of helping people retain or regain independent living.
- Employment assistance and skills upgrade.
- Classes that support successful living.
- Services and programs focused on women and children at the Women and Children's Day Center, located across the street from the main shelter.
- The Center for Transitional Living program provides more extended housing and services to qualifying homeless persons, including space for families to stay together.
- Outreach and homeless prevention assistance for qualifying households that are struggling to pay their rent and utilities (through one-time and ongoing rental and utility assistance and case management services).
What does a Case Manager do?
- Assess the reason for homelessness.
- Coach guests to develop and successfully implement a plan to address their issues.
- Link guests to needed services in the community and to federal and state programs, including access to mental health and substance abuse services if indicated.
- Help secure transportation and transport guests to appointments as needed.
- Provide budget and credit advice.
- Provide guidance, caring, and encouragement.
What is the Outreach/Homeless Prevention Program about?
- The goal of the Outreach/Homeless Prevention program is to offer services, such as rental/utility assistance, and referrals to those in need in our community in order to prevent homelessness and support the well being of individuals and their families.
- Lazarus House staff have always tried to assist people who call for help. In 2006, Lazarus House expanded and formalized its outreach by hiring dedicated staff to handle the increased demand for these services. Grants have financed a portion of increased staff costs and all of the rental subsidy payments. Other staff continue to assist with Outreach as needed.
- With expanded resources, Lazarus House works with at-risk households to identify their needs. The Outreach staff offer case management, financial counseling, and referral services. Households that meet grant criteria can apply for and obtain one-time or ongoing rental assistance. To date this program has been an important help to enable qualifying low-income persons to obtain or retain housing in the community.
- In 2008, we opened the Community Resource Center at 308 Walnut Street, which provides more convenient street-level access for our Outreach/Homeless Prevention Program.
What are your goals and outcome measures?
Results from fiscal year 2016 include the following results for those homeless persons with specific needs: 99% received case management, 96% received medical care, 83% received mental health services, 100% received dental care, 74% accessed legal services, 93% achieved continuing education or job training goals, 84% moved into transitional or independent housing, 67% obtained or improved employment, 84% received substance abuse services, 100% obtained independent transportation and 100% of clients received food, shelter, and emergency services.
For those households receiving ongoing rental subsidies in FY16, multiple positive outcomes occurred besides housing: 100% of required households learned to follow a monthly budget for the first time, 48% of households obtained access to new benefits to improve their finances and/or health
What does the Center for Transitional Living offer?
Case management focused especially on enhancing income, employment, skill development, budgeting and in-house training, including basic technology training and internet access, and the skills needed to one day live independently in permanent housing.
What happens at the Women and Children's Day Center?
The Women and Children's Day Center, located at 15 S. Third St, across the street from the Emergency Shelter entrance, provides a homelike space for homeless women and children to use from morning until bedtime. Its goal is to provide an appropriate setting for women and children to focus on and achieve their goals. The center includes a small living room, dining room, kitchen area, two baths with showers and a bathtub, along with a fenced outdoor play area. Case managers meet and follow up with women to assess their needs and create an action plan to address those needs. Life skills and classes geared toward women and children's needs are held regularly- using Lazarus House staff and external experts.
What classes are offered to guests?
- Education staff plans and delivers a learning curriculum to address diverse needs of our guests, including topics such as: Getting a job; parenting; self-esteem; healthy relationships, anger management, and the computer.
- Classes are available for guests of both the CTL and Emergency Shelter as well as those at risk of homelessness in our community.