Christmas for CCO Single Shelter Guests

Mens Christmas Featured Over 350 consider CCO home while they are working to establish permanent housing. It’s important that Christmas is a joy for every family and single person sheltered with us. The giving doesn’t stop with the parents and children. The residents of our single women and single men’s shelter are no less important. Each program celebrates with a festive party that includes decorations, a delicious holiday meal, and gifts. Everyone is valued and no one is left out.
As you celebrate the holidays this year remember CCO and consider making a holiday or year-end donation. Your gift is 100% tax deductible and you will have the knowledge that you are a part of making the holidays and every day brighter for our shelter guests. If you would like to donate new items for our Holiday party for single shelter guests please contact Eve at eve@ccolife.org. Or consider making a financial donation that will be spent to fill the greatest need. Thank you!

Denise’s Story

Denise

“In my storage unit, I was too cold to rest. I wanted a place to lay my head down and just sleep. I’d wrap up in ten blankets, just trying to get warm.”

Denise seems to have an endless abundance of joy. She is a very petite woman in her late 50’s with bright eyes and a wide, welcoming smile that goes well with her upbeat personality. Denise’s past was filled with a solid and consistent work history. For 30 years she was employed with Illinois Bell. She began in 1979 working part-time in the mailroom and was promoted 12 times, working her way up to full-time Engineering Clerk. After taking early retirement from Illinois Bell and giving the funds to her son to pay for his college education, Denise found work as a secretary with a moving company. Eight years later that business relocated to Florida. Denise found herself unemployed and alone. Too young for social security benefits but old enough to experience age discrimination when looking for work, she didn’t know where to turn for help.

Finding a job proved difficult and she eventually lost her apartment. Denise had an outdoor storage space that measured about 10 feet by 10 feet located in an outdoor lot on the south side of Chicago. The space held all the items from the apartment she had lost and with nowhere else to turn, she moved into it. Without any heat at all and only a few flashlights for light, Denise said she prayed, read her Bible, and cried a river in that storage unit. Keeping clean was a real challenge and when she tried to wash up in local public bathrooms she endured looks and comments from people who seemed to fear or despise her. Her former life was utterly lost.

For three years and throughout notoriously harsh Chicago winters, Denise stayed in her storage unit. To escape the cold, she would often ride the Chicago Public Transit system. “I was so tired of riding the buses. So tired… but when I rode the buses no one ever robbed me. An angel must have been sitting beside me.” Throughout these years Denise kept her difficult circumstances hidden from her son who lived out of state.

This sweet, hard-working woman had been forced so far out on the margins that she couldn’t find her way back. This past January, in the deadly cold, Denise arrived at Cornerstone. Three years of surviving alone would lead us to believe that Denise would find living with the 74 other women sheltered at Naomi House nearly impossible. Not so! Denise soon began to encourage homeless women younger than her, giving words of wisdom, and helping to defuse tense situations.

During her time at the shelter, Denise felt that God told her, “I’m giving you the rope but it’s up to you to grab ahold and pull yourself up.” And she did just that. During her stay at CCO Denise got security guard training, earned her PERC (Permanent Employment Registration Card) card, and got full-time work as a security guard. Of Naomi House staff Denise says, “They really supported me. The case managers got to know me and took time with me. I felt that they respected me.”

For the last 8 months Denise has been working full-time as a security officer for a domestic violence shelter that serves women with children. She enjoys her work immensely. The day Denise moved into her apartment she shouted, “Lord, You have been too good to me!” and then sat down and cried tears of gratitude. We rejoice with Denise!
Denise’s story reflects a trend of age-related employment discrimination. Regardless of her impeccable work history and experience Denise struggled to find a job. The turning point in Denise’s story is when she arrived at CCO and began to climb out of the day-to-day survival situation she had sunk into. We have been blessed by her stay and applaud the employer that saw what we see in Denise – a lovely, enthusiastic, hard-working woman who simply needed a job.

– Denise Hardy, as told to Beth Nicholls

If you are a donor then you helped to provide safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive case management services to Denise and other CCO residents like her. Please consider giving again financially today. If you have not made a donation to CCO consider giving a gift that will help someone move from homelessness to permanent housing. Thank you!

Denise

Sweet Baby Blankets!

Baby Blankets

CCO would like to say a special thank you to one our wonderful donors who has made beautiful baby blankets for the infants who stay at CCO with their families. Every blanket comes with a card. It is such as sweet and personal gift.

Families come to CCO with newborns often. Culturally, we don’t usually associate homelessness with infants but many our of shelter guests have babies while staying with us or come to CCO with newborns, toddlers, and children of all ages. Families who are homeless have special challenges and we are glad to meet those challenges with them.

Join us in providing safe shelter, nutritious meals, and compassionate case management services to homeless families. Consider making a donation today!

Thank you!

Naomi House Renovation!

Thank you Tourism Toronto for beautifully renovating the bathroom for the single women sheltered at CCO’s Naomi House program! You’re work is an improvement and encouragement. What a transformation! Thank you!

Our Executive Director

Together Mosaic

CCO has a long history of women in leadership. Sandy Ramsey has led our organization for nearly 30 years. Recently, Sandy captured the philosophy and hope that CCO tries to bring to all its programs and services.
“We assist people and work with them as they recover from the hardships of homelessness while helping them restore their God given-worth and self-esteem.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Mother's Day 2014Every day at CCO, we are privileged to see mothers persevering against the odds, diligently working to secure housing and moving closer to a better life for their families.

On this special holiday, please consider making a financial donation that will help moms and their families get one step closer to a stable home. Join us as we provide safe shelter, nutritious meals and critical case management services to over 65 mothers living on our programs. Thank you!

 

Valentine’s Day Success!

Valentine's Day Success

Congratulations to Brooke, who moved out of CCO’s Naomi House shelter for single women and into her very own apartment on Valentine’s Day! We’re proud of you, Brooke!

Help us continue to provide safe shelter, nutritious meals and vital case management services to CCO’s shelter guests. Your donation makes a difference!

Please donate today!

Thank you!

Homeless to Housed

Success

In 2013, over 170 people moved into permanent housing from one of CCO’s shelter programs or through street outreach. We never get tired of seeing our former shelter guests showing off their apartment keys!

Consider donating today! Donors and volunteers are a vital part of the good that goes on at CCO. Thank you!

Our Mission

 

Housing Success

Our Mission:

Addressing homelessness, providing shelter, accepting people, finding home.

“Finding home” is the moment when housing happens for a homeless person. We are proud of our shelter guests and case managers that work to find a place for everyone. It is pure joy to see someone with new apartment keys and a big smile.

Join us in our effort to bridge the gap between homelessness and home. Help us “Find Home” for our shelter guests. Donate Today!

Love.

Shunta. Domestic violence survivor. CCO shelter guest. Mother and grandmother. Shunta speaks about her life, her family and her thoughts about love.

Your financial donation can make a difference in the lives of women like Shunta, her daughter, or grandchildren, who are sheltered at CCO. Consider donating today.

Love from Cornerstone Community Outreach on Vimeo.