“I had been working since I was 15. I’d never been in a position where I had to ask for things,” says Kenneth, who lost his forklift operating job when his company relocated. He was forced to move back home with his mother until Inspiration Kitchens helped him gain the culinary skills he needed to secure a full time job as a cook. He and his mother were able to move out of their housing project and into a newer building. Kenneth says that his mother took care of him while he was unemployed, and now he is proud to be taking care of her.
The Inspiration Cafe and Living Room Cafe, located in Uptown and Woodlawn, respectively, are the core of Inspiration Corporation's Supportive Services program. Participants in our programs attend meals prepared and served by volunteers in a restaurant-style setting. Meals in these therapeutic communities provide daily structure in participants' lives.
Through regular case management meetings, guests receive individualized counseling and support in identifying, monitoring, and achieving personal goals, which include obtaining stable housing, securing a sustainable income through employment or public benefits, addressing addiction, accessing mental health and medical care.
The Supportive Services program also links participants to other services provided by Inspiration Corporation and other organizations in the community, including healthcare, housing, educational opportunities, job training programs, and employment.
All applicants to our Supportive Services program must be referred by a social service provider or agency that has substantial experience working with their client in order to verify the qualifying criteria. To qualify, applicants must have no recent history of violence and be willing to work toward obtaining their own housing and source of income.
Community Voice Mail provides an individual phone number and free message retrieval services to homeless and phoneless Chicagoans at one time, providing them with a lifeline to potential jobs, homes, healthcare, family, and services.
The Healthy Living initiative provides and hosts an array of wellness services, addiction recovery meetings; massage therapy; yoga classes; health and life-skills workshops; health screenings provided in partnership with Heartland Health Outreach; and access to free dental and eye care.
The Art for All initiative provides opportunities for participants to reconnect with the larger community through group outings to various artistic, cultural and recreational venues. Besides simply making human lives richer, these events help to rebuild the socialization skills of men and women who have spent years living on society's margins.