Short-Term Transitional Shelter Program

Serving homeless women and their children, the HOS Short-Term Transitional Shelter provides secure living conditions in a dorm style environment and wraparound services that are designed to meet clients “where they are” to help them move toward a new beginning and a self-sufficient lifestyle. These services may include case management, linkages to community resources, assistance with career planning, mental health services, and more.

An expansion added space that now provides nine dorm rooms with access to two communal kitchens, shared bathrooms, a child’s play area and laundry facilities. There are four two-bedroom individual living units to accommodate mothers with adolescent-age boys or with special needs. Currently, the shelter can serve 32-40 individuals per night. After an average stay of 4.4 months, approximately 98 percent of clients exit services into permanent housing.

For more information or to be put on the waitlist for the Transitional Shelter please call 815-271-5444.

Criteria for Program

  • Literally homeless women 18 years or older (single, pregnant, or with children up to age 18). What does “literally homeless” mean? Please click HERE for more information (PDF).
  • At least 30 days sober
  • At least 30 days removed from Mental Health Hospitalizations.
  • Mental health concerns treated and with the ability to function independently.
  • Willing to be employed full-time by the tenth week in the program, or if receiving SSDI, part-time work.
  • No violent criminal charges (ex: assault, battery, etc.); other criminal history will be evaluated on an individual basis.
  • Agreeable to case management.



Range of Services

Case Management

Home of the Sparrow’s experienced Case Managers work with shelter residents and housing program clients to develop an Individual Plan. Areas of focus include employment, education, parenting, financial skills, housing, physical and mental health and well-being. Regular case management involves support and guidance in achieving individual goals in each area. The process serves to empower women as they transition from homelessness to self-sufficiency.


Community Resources in McHenry County governmental and non-profit agencies offer an array of supportive services that strive to meet the needs of area residents. Home of the Sparrow Case Managers are skilled at appropriate referral and utilization of those resources to supplement the supports offered by the agency.


Educational and employment options One of the keys to ending homelessness is a living wage. Women who enter Home of the Sparrow programs are assisted with exploring and reaching educational and employment goals. In the shelter setting, residents must be employed within ten weeks of entering the program.

Child-Care Assistance

Home of the Sparrow shelter residents receive initial financial assistance with child care costs as well as connection to the 4C’s program for longer term support.

Adult Therapy

The Adult Therapist is available to assist residents in their recovery from domestic violence and trauma. She works with individuals to learn effective methods of addressing and decreasing mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression. Utilizing a person-centered and strengths-based approach, the Adult Therapist supports residents in achieving their goals and in re-establishing stability and independence in their lives.

Child & Family Therapy

The Child and Family Therapist offers therapy services for mothers and their children of various ages. Services reflect the individual needs of the resident. Using play therapy, Child-Parent Psychotherapy and Rodgerian talk therapy, the HOS therapist provides a setting in which mothers and children can explore their feelings and struggles in addition to learning ways to improve their relationship or cope with daily issues.

Group Therapy

Wellness Group is an ongoing open group focused on preventative mental health care. Facilitated by the Adult Therapist, the weekly group includes an educational component and is oriented to the physical, psychological and spiritual well-being of the individual. Group topics vary and address methods of improving functioning in areas such as using emotions effectively, choosing positive relationships, building a healthy self-concept, living authentically, learning to “stress less” and focused relaxation for wellness.

Parent Training Classes

The Incredible Years program is an evidence-based program which teaches parents how to implement effective parenting skills in order to reduce negative behaviors and reinforce positive behaviors. The group utilizes videos of real parents practicing the techniques discussed in group, discussion and take home practice. It is a ten week program facilitated by the Child and Family Therapist.

Financial Classes

Financial difficulties and limited resources associated with homelessness make maintaining good credit very difficult. Residents of HOS participate in Consumer Credit Counseling classes, learning to use credit responsibly and increase their credit score. They also attend financial classes focused on creating a savings plan, reducing expenses, addressing previous debt and creating a budget which are all essential to financial recovery and self-sufficiency.

Life Skill Classes

Life skills courses are designed to provide additional learning opportunities that pertain to self-sufficiency. The topics vary based on residents’ needs. Previous classes have included: cooking on a budget, being a good renter, child seat safety, conflict resolution, job interviewing skills, resume and cover letter writing, and more.


Navigating the world of social services can at times be difficult and frustrating. HOS staff assist residents and clients with connections to services and, when needed, act as a strong voice on their behalf.

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