Northwestern Medicine funding helps Home of the Sparrow hire employment coach for homeless women
Northwestern Medicine McHenry Hospital Northwestern Medicine Woodstock Hospital Northwestern Medicine Huntley Hospital August 13, 2019
$10,000 grant supports role that combats unemployment, underemployment
WOODSTOCK, Ill. – Aug. 13, 2019 – An employment coach at Home of the Sparrow will soon help women in McHenry County break the cycle of underemployment and unemployment. The coach, whose role is funded in part by a $10,000 gift from Northwestern Medicine, will create opportunities for women to train for and achieve livable wages so they can support themselves and their families.
“Women and children who become homeless are often unemployed and have no other support coming in,” said Matt Kostecki, executive director at Home of the Sparrow. “When they come to us they often have nothing but their children and the clothes on their backs.”
Home of the Sparrow is a nonprofit organization that assesses and responds to the needs of homeless women and children in the community.
Kostecki said some women who enter Home of the Sparrow shelter or other housing programs may be employed, but they do not make livable wages to afford market rate rent.
“We have some women who will work more than one job to make ends meet,” he said. “Homelessness often times is not a choice, it’s a situation. To fight the homeless situation for women and children, we decided an employment coach was crucial. The coach will connect women with long-term growth opportunities so they can become self-sufficient contributing members of our community.”
Kostecki said Northwestern Medicine’s gift to the program helped Home of the Sparrow secure additional funding from an anonymous donor who is funding the rest of the position.
“Home of the Sparrow’s efforts to enhance the lives of women and children align with our commitment to improving the health and wellness of our community members,” said Dawn Roznowski, director of community affairs at Northwestern Medicine. “This position will help families thrive by teaching women of all ages how to achieve jobs with higher compensation. That will decrease homelessness, reduce stress on working women and give families more quality time together.”
As part of the program, women will receive job training and be placed with employers who want to provide smooth transitions to better employment. The coach will teach resume writing and give women access to online training to enhance their skillsets. Women also will have opportunities to intern at Home of the Sparrow retail stores and at other partner organizations to gain work experience and support their job-search efforts.