We started in 1995 when three women wanted to do something about homelessness. We did not know where to go or what the need was. After three years of studying the homeless situation in Lake County, we decided to work with homeless women and children. Having very little funding, we asked the Franciscan Friars at Marytown for office space. They graciously offered us several cubby spaces. These spaces grew until in 2001 we moved into two offices right near the East entrance of Marytown.
We've now moved to our current location at 745 N Milwaukee Ave in Libertyville.
On Oct 10, 1998, we took in our first client. Today we have assisted over 4,100 families in Lake County. We assist with case management, rental subsidy, food, clothing, household goods and furniture. We have developed programs to help our clients toward self-sufficiency:
Urgent Needs Program: This program assists clients with rent, food and clothing. It also allows us to place families in hotels on an emergency basis.
M.O.M., Moms of Maristella, is a program for all women and children. We meet once each month at a Church. We have professional speakers on topics such as parenting skills, budgeting skills, health care, child safety, etc. Childcare is provided. Clients who attend these meetings receive special benefits during the Holidays. At the July meeting, children receive school supplies. At Thanksgiving time each family receive a food basket and a turkey. At Christmas time, clients fill a wish list for their families. Christmas parties are held. It is always a joy to see the children enjoying games and partying together.
Other programs are dependent on funds from grants as we receive them. We help families in Domestic Violence situations when we have funding to place them in hotels or give them a new start with the Security Deposit..Other grants such as the EFSP program give us funding for food and hotel stays.
Maristella is part of the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless. We are also part of the Continuum of Care for the Homeless in Lake County. Maristella works together with other agencies in Lake County to provide shelter, food and basic necessities for the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless.