Carpenter's Place is a 501(c)(3) faith-based organization serving homeless adults in Northern Illinois. "Carpenter's Place provides the tools necessary for rebuilding the lives of the homeless. Inspired by Christ's compassion, Carpenter's Place offers direction with accountability to people with broken lives, helping them find peace with God, themselves and their communities." That is the mission statement upon which Carpenter's Place developed a wide range of services to address the unmet needs and gaps in service for chronically homeless adults.
Established in Rockford, Illinois in June 2000, the Carpenter's Placeprogram and methodology were designed with input from homeless individuals from the streets and then through collaboration with professionals from academia and human services. The goal was to engage long-time homeless adults through outreach and then provide services to make it possible toextract them fromhomelessness, not just serve them inhomelessness. Collaboration with other community services was then and continues to be today at the core of this design.
The initial services included a safe place away from the dangers of the streets and inclement weather, food, beverages, and two staff who listened to needs and provided linkage to community resources. In consultation with homeless adults, CP quickly became aware of the need for and added an array of practical and essential services for the homeless: showers, storage of personal items, phone/message service, mailing address, clothes, laundry service, and haircuts.
To address the growing number of homeless Guests and the complexity of their needs, CP developed a comprehensive case management program to facilitate positive life changes for the homeless. This filled a void in the community. Single service agencies were doing a wonderful job in their areas of expertise but no agency provided comprehensive case management and linkage to services needed for all issues holding adults in homelessness, or a place for homeless men and women to seek supported refuge during daytime hours. CP focused on filling these gaps in service to the homeless in the Rockford area.
CP also became a site for other agencies to provide services including Crusader Community Healthcare for the Homeless, Rockford School District’s GED Tutoring Program, and the Veteran’s Administration. In the following years, CP added programs to address the need for housing, employment, and support services for homeless adults including Veterans, the chronically homeless, those recovering from addictions, and those struggling with mental health concerns. During calendar year 2010, CP served 1,903 unduplicated homeless Guests.