Jena’s Impact on Journey’s
Journey’s is a homeless shelter given to individuals whom are homeless, and need a place to stay for the night. Journey’s offers this opportunity to the less fortunate who do not have a place to live. There are many great community leaders involved with this business, one in particular was kind enough to speak of detail about what she does, and how she does it. Her name is Jena.
About the Community Leader
Jena is a 35 year old married mother who had just received a raise right before interviewing her about her business. She has the second highest position available at Journey’s in which she works as a case manager. She has been there for some time, and really enjoys the individuals that she works with. Jena has a very important job, as she works with unique daily activities each day to fulfill the company’s needs. Her role in society is precious to her as she likes to say, “I love my job, and I would not give it up for the world. I just like to see people with smiles on their faces, and those smiles are coming from something that I did for them.” Jena works with individuals who need shelter, food, and money. She pulls them in off the streets to help support them. Jena will also act as a psychologist, and speak with the individuals about how to improve their lives, and to get out of the gutter they are currently in. Jena also works with fundraising events to raise money any which way she can to help the company afford the individuals, and help them each day.
Her Role with the Homeless
Jena was informative when she said, “The majority of the population can understand psychology, but cannot understand a learned behavior, or mental disability. You just cannot teach those things.” This immediately caught my attention as soon as she said this, because most people in society do not understand why individuals are homeless or how they became that way. Most people may immediately jump to conclusion that it is because they are lazy, and do not want to work. Jena informed me that this was not the case. The majority of the individuals that she looks over are mentally handicapped, and need help immediately. These individuals are not a “weird” subculture; they are all the poor neighbors. These individuals are mostly uneducated, have no resources readily available, no support systems, and most importantly, without knowledge.
Fundraising Events and Funding
Jena currently works with fundraising events, and funding for Journey’s. She went on to explain that most of the funding comes from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). They also receive a federal level service contract only at $180,000 a year, considering this number is slowly decreasing. This money is strictly for the homeless service providers. Funding also comes from faith based fundraising. Journey’s did start out through a church, and have many churches across the nation that shelter individuals for a night. Jena runs the two fundraising events that happen each year which are known as, run/walk for hope, and bid for hope. Anyone can participate in these events to help raise money for the shelter. Lastly, Journey’s accepts individual donations. These donations can be mailed directly to the shelter. Jena spoke on how the individual donations are always the same people, and how they care a lot about the homeless shelter, and want to see it succeed.
As mentioned earlier, Jena is very involved with her job as a case manager through Journey’s. Not only does she act as a psychologist to help individuals lead a healthier and happier life, she is also pro-active in keeping the business going by leading fundraising events, and raising enough money each year to help individuals that are on the verge of losing their home. Jena is known as a community leader by her dictatorship, and her leadership skills for running a homeless shelter set out to house individual’s who need it the most.
Homelessness in the Suburbs
Palatine and Arlington Heights, which are the neighboring communities of JOURNEYS, a homeless shelter, are affluent areas that are supportive of the organization, but also bring some concerns to the organization as well. Palatine and Arlington Heights are not commonly known for homelessness or poverty. However, the reality is that the rates of poverty are just as great in these areas as they are in the city of Chicago (Sotonoff, 2013). JOURNEYS identifies the “lack of affordable housing” as one of the major causes for homelessness (As cited in Illinois Coalition to End Homelessness). Palatine and Arlington Heights are communities that do not necessarily provide affordable housing, which may be one of the reasons for high rates of homelessness in this area. Another concern for JOURNEYS is having enough volunteers within the community to aid homeless people in getting back on their feet (Jena Hencin, personal communication, September 25, 2013). However, the communities of Arlington Heights and Palatine are supportive of JOURNEYS and often host the organization at various community events that help raise money for the services the organization provides (JOURNEYS Facebook Page). The hope for the future is to keep on raising awareness of the seriousness of homelessness in the northwest suburbs of Chicago by being involved in community functions, and also raising awareness for the need of more affordable housing.
JOURNEYS is an organization in Palatine that serves as a homeless shelter and provides services to those who are highly at risk for becoming homeless. JOURNEYS works with two of its surrounding northwest suburbs, Palatine and Arlington Heights. Palatine and Arlington Heights are commonly known as rather affluent areas within the Northwest suburbs. The median income in Palatine was $72,521 in 2009 and $69,002 in Arlington Heights (City-Data, 2009). Therefore, the issue of homelessness may often be overlooked in these areas. However, JOURNEYS works with these communities to try to raise awareness of how serious homelessness in the suburbs really is. Although, it may appear as though these areas are thriving, there are people living in these areas who are not nearly as fortunate to make these kinds of salaries, or even some who do not have a source of income at all. A recent study actually found that the suburbs have as large of a population of people living in poverty as the city (Sotonoff, 2013).
Affordable Housing and Funding
One of the issues concerning the communities of Arlington Heights and Palatine is affordable housing which may be related to the large amounts of homelessness in these areas. When asked if JOURNEYS has made an impact on the communities of Arlington Heights and Palatine regarding affordable housing, the interning development director of JOURNEYS replied that JOURNEYS has not had as large of an effect on these communities to be able to influence the community into creating more affordable housing (Jena Hencin, personal communication, September 25, 2013). She also noted that they had limited volunteers to help fight the cause of homelessness in these communities. Another concern in the community the interning director mentioned was also that the Arlington Heights police department stopped funding the organization (Jena Hencin, personal communication, September 25, 2013).
Although there are various monetary concerns regarding funding of JOURNEYS and the lack of affordable housing in Arlington Heights and Palatine, community involvement and support does keep the organization going and gives hope for a brighter future for the homeless population in the Northwest suburbs. Some ways in which the communities of Palatine and Arlington Heights are involved in helping JOURNEYS keep people off of the streets is by organizing sleeping arrangements in the community’s churches for people who become homeless abruptly (Jena Hencin, personal communication, September 25, 2013). JOURNEYS helps people who come for their services get in touch with churches in the community, so that they do not find themselves sleeping on the street.
Food Gathered by local students. Source: (JOURNEYS The Road Home Newsletter)
Also, another way Arlington Heights and Palatine have a positive impact on JOURNEYS is through events held in the community that JOURNEYS makes an effort to be a part of. This past September, the community of Palatine hosted JOURNEYS at their Oktoberfest, and a part of the event’s proceeds were donated to the organization. Palatine also regularly hosts 5 k runs that benefit JOURNEYS and help fund its services (JOURNEYS Facebook Page). Arlington Heights churches also donate gift cards that the organization uses to purchase supplies for its clients. Some other ways these communities are involved are also local businesses making donations and local school children volunteering within their schools to make care packages for the homeless people at JOURNEYS. Along with creating care packages for the homeless, students at local schools in Palatine and Arlington Heights develop an understanding and appreciation for what it means to be homeless through education on homelessness (JOURNEYS The Road Home Newsletter, August 2013, p. 2).
Care Packages created by students in the community. Source: (JOURNEYS The Road Home Newsletter)
The communities of Arlington Heights and Palatine are proactive about making efforts to help bring awareness of the rise of homelessness in the northwest suburbs. The communities’ efforts can continue to flourish through organizing various events that help raise money for the organization and also make more people aware of the prominence of homelessness in the suburbs. Community efforts could also improve in the future through greater volunteer participation to actually help provide those in need of services and provide help just organizing materials. The more awareness is raised of how serious the issue of homelessness is even in areas that appear to be affluent, the higher the chances of getting the attention of those who actually have the power to make housing more affordable will be. More awareness of the issues concerning homelessness also means that the homeless that are a part of the Palatine and Arlington Heights communities will get the help that they need, whether it may be counseling or basic health care needs. Everyone deserves to have their basic needs taken care of, and the homeless population needs its community’s support to be able to do so.
City-Data (2009). Palatine, Illinois (IL) income map, earnings map, and wages data. Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Palatine-Illinois.html.
City-Data (2009). Arlington Heights, Illinois (IL) income map, earnings map, and wages data. Retrieved from http://www.city-data.com/income/income-Arlington- Heights-Illinois.html.
Sotonoff, J. (2013, September 5). Report: Suburbs have as much poverty as the city. Daily Herald. Retrieved from http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20130905/news/709059966/.
JOURNEYS The Road Home. (2013 August). It takes a community. JOURNEYS The Road Home Newsletter. Retrieved from http://www.journeystheroadhome.org/landing/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/newsletterSummer2013.pdf.
JOURNEYS The Road Home. (2013 August). [Photographs of children’s care packages and food drive]. It takes a community. JOURNEYS The Road Home Newsletter. Retrieved from http://www.journeystheroadhome.org/landing/wp- content/uploads/2013/09/newsletterSummer2013.pdf.
JOURNEYS The Road Home. (n.d). In Facebook [Fan Page]. Retrieved October 6, 2013, from https://www.facebook.com/JourneysfromPADStoHOPE?fref=ts.
JOURNEYS The Road Home. It takes a community. Retrieved from http://www.journeystheroadhome.org/landing/it-takes-a-community/.
Arlington Heights Community Assets
Arlington Heights Overview
One of many suburbs located just northwest of Chicago is the village of Arlington Heights. This suburban community, which boasts the motto, “The city of good neighbors” seems to live up to its name through the community’s countless attractions, family programs, churches, schools, as well as local restaurants and shops. The village of Arlington Heights didn’t just spring up overnight though, its historical roots dating back to 1800’s, and its economic progression since then, has made it the vibrant community it is today. Along with its colorful past, the present day suburb also offers a multitude of assets that benefit the community and surrounding suburbs, including Journeys the Road Home Organization. Therefore, this paper will be discussing the historical background, as well as the present day assets of Arlington Heights, as well as the community organizations that play a role within this community.
Arlington Heights was originally named “Dunton” after a man named William Dunton purchased the land and laid out a town in 1835 (Wikipedia, 2013). The original population in Arlington Heights began to diversify through the 1850’s as German farmers began to settle in the area, leading to the establishment of a large produce market centered within the town that sent out dairy products and vegetables to Chicago by train (Wikipedia, 2013). Throughout the next couple of decades, the tiny town began to grow as families and farmers began moving into the area. It was also within these early stages that the first religious institutions were set up, which marks the beginnings of the community’s profound religious values that are still in place today.
As time went on, the town saw a remarkable population increase throughout the 1950’s and 60’s as car ownership increased, as well as the Chicago economy was ever expanding, leading people to move into the suburb (Wikipedia, 2013).
Arlington Heights Present-Day Assets
Today, residents from Arlington Heights benefit from the numerous assets this community has to offer. As previously mentioned, the community is home to a number of religious institutions, including three sizable Catholic parishes, St James, St. Edna, and Our Lady of the Wayside. In addition, there are multiple Lutheran churches, several Protestant churches, two United Churches of Christ, and even a kingdom hall for Jehovah’s Witnesses. This is important for a community because it allows for residents to come together in faith, as well as partake in programs that these institutions offer as well––strengthening the ties between religion and community residents.
Interestingly enough, many of these same churches have partnered with Journeys the Road Home and the PADS shelter program. Every night, a different church in the Northwest suburban community becomes the emergency overnight shelter for homeless individuals, including St. James, Our Lady of the Wayside, First United Methodist Church, First Presbyterian Church, and Our Saviors Lutheran Church, just to name a few locations in Arlington Heights (Journeys 2012).
Along with religious institutions, Arlington Heights offers an abundance of education systems as well. Although Arlington Heights District 23 operates a majority of the elementary schools and middle schools, there are several parts within the community that are operated by Prospect Heights District 23, as well as Wheeling District 21. Education systems are extremely important for communities because they form the central link between students, parents, and community members in general. Proper education systems are important to communities because they give children the tools they need to gain educational success and achievement––protective factors for homelessness.
Furthermore, Arlington Heights boasts a booming business economy through its nightlife, its shops, and restaurants that cater to its community members as well as surrounding villages. Most notable is the Arlington Heights Race Track, which opened in 1927, (Wikipedia 2013). This creates an enormous revenue for the community, and provides jobs to over 4500 people (Wikipedia 2013).
In addition, residents have a large variety of restaurant choices within the suburb as well, according to the village’s main website, “there are nearly 40 restaurants and night spots in Downtown Arlington Heights including national chain restaurants, unique fine dining establishments, pizzerias, espresso café’s, restaurant pubs and wine shop. There is a broad variety of choices from Italian-themed bistros, Tapas, Thai, America, Mexican, Chinese, and Irish-inspired establishments, among others,” (Discover Arlington, 2009).
Besides restaurants, there are close to 35 local grocery stores spread throughout the community, (yahoo! 2013) ensuring that all residents have access to fresh, nutritional foods on a daily basis. A noteworthy grocery store that is among these local options is Aldi. Aldi is known for its affordable pricing which is especially beneficial for those who are low on funds, like those who are homeless or at-risk to become homeless. People using governmental aid, such as the "Link" card can get the most for their money by shopping at Aldi. These local shops, restaurants, and entertainment spots are crucial for a community’s livelihood. It is the crutch that holds communities together, because not only does it bring in more people from surrounding areas, and potential new property owners, it creates a social link between community members.
Arlington Heights also offers a variety of public safety systems, from the Arlington Heights Fire Department, the Arlington Heights police departments, to housing assistance programs and elderly programs, this community has a multitude of human services that are available to those who need them. There is an Environmental Health Department, as well as a Food Service Program in Arlington Heights (Discover Arlington 2013). One organization that truly stands out, however, is one that caters to the needs of the homeless that reside within Arlington Heights, as well as throughout the northwest suburbs. Journeys the Road Home, situated on Northwest highway in Arlington Heights, works with the several parishes which were previously underscored, to ensure that these homeless have a safe place to sleep every night. It is clear to see how the Christian values of this community are reflected within the organizations that provide services to the community members.
A few other miscellaneous assets this community has are the two Metra stations, one in downtown Arlington Heights, and one near the Arlington Heights Racetrack. These provide easy transportation for residents to travel to Chicago, and as far as Harvard in the opposite direction. This allows residents to travel to work, and school with ease, allowing every resident to be a contributing member of society. Another miscellaneous asset is the abundance of “green space” within this community. A local favorite by community members is Lake Arlington, which is a 2.3 mile path surrounding a lake in which residents can bike, walk, or rollerskate around. There are also countless parks, nature centers, and playgrounds that provide families with children a place to play and get exercise. According to the Arlington Heights Park District, there are “58 parks comprised of community parks, neighborhood parks, play lots, passive parks and linear parks,” (2013).
Overall, it is easy to see that Arlington Heights is an abundant, lively community that provides its residents with a multitude of assets, from religious institutions, to education systems, restaurants, grocery stores, human services, as well as transportation, and finally, a large amount of green space to enjoy. Additionally, it is clear to see why this community provides access to food and servcies to those who are homeless, and the ways in which Journeys the Road Home is a central homeless organization within this community.
Wikipedia. (2013, September 28). Arlington Heights, Illinois. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arlington_Heights,_Illinois
Village of Arlington Heights. (2009). Shopping in Arlington Heights. Retrieved from http://www.discoverarlington.com/shopping/default.aspx
Journeys. (2012). Volunteer! Retrieved from: http://www.journeystheroadhome.org/landing/be-a-part-of-journeys/
Arlington Heights Park District. (2013). Parks and Facilities General Info. Retrieved from