Connecting with the Community: Magdalene House of Chicago

Connecting with the Community: Magdalene House of Chicago

This Sunday, August 4, Katie Eccles, LCSW, will bring the message and share about the mission of Magdalene House Chicago (MHC). The first time I met Katie, I found her infectious joy for life and concern for vulnerable women compelling. I was already looking forward to being in a meeting when I went to a MHC board meeting the second time. Katie brings joy and hope everywhere she goes, and her compassion is the kind that invites you in to join in the project to make a positive difference! The MISSION STATEMENT of MHC: By nurturing transformative, sustainable change for healing and freedom, Magdalene House Chicago stands in solidarity with women who have survived lives of trafficking, prostitution, addiction and homelessness.

It is possible that you have not heard much about sex trafficking, except around Super Bowl Sunday.  But it  is a problem that affects vulnerable girls and women and causes intense personal distress.  Our speaker at a recent MHC event shared that she was forced into sexual activity at age 12 when she ran away from an abusive home.

#1 - 79% of women in prostitution said they began due to some degree of force

#2 - 51% of women are forced to have sex with 10 or more men a day

#3 - 62% of sex workers in Chicago first exchanged sex for money before age 18

#4 - 100% of women in Chicago have experienced violence of some kind while in the sex trade.

For women who have survived sex trafficking, addiction, and abuse, Magdalene House Chicago, Inc (MHC) promises the flexibility, advocacy, and humanity they need to heal and become leaders through its Residential Housing Program. MHC defines healing as the loving path each woman takes to reestablish relationships with family, earn a degree, get a job and become stably housed. This program is derived from a residential housing program in Nashville, TN, called Magdalene House, which has successfully supported women survivors in their paths toward healing for more than 20 years.

Magdalene House Chicago is taking some exciting steps in the next year.  In the next year, MHC will 1) recruit and hire a Clinical Program Director to manage its residential wellness program; 2)  refine its residential program to meet the needs of Chicago’s women survivors;  3) formalize community relationships developed since MHC’s launch in 2015; and, 4) open its doors to welcome home women survivors who are ready to heal. MHC’s Residential Program, which will launch in Summer 2020. The program includes 24 months rent-free housing, access to trauma-informed health and mental health services, job training, education, and other critical, community-based services. The program is flexible and highly customized to the needs of each individual woman who comes home to heal at MHC. The collaborative program relies on partnerships with local, community-based organizations in near West suburbs of Chicago to help women heal, gain confidence, and achieve stability.  

Photo by Jazmin Quaynor on Unsplash