The Boulevard of Chicago provides high quality, cost-effective medical respite care, holistic support and housing services to help ill and injured homeless adults break the cycle of homelessness, restore their health and rebuild their lives.
The Boulevard of Chicago will serve more homeless individuals and improve their lives by minimizing the impact of illness and injury and affirming the link between health care continuity and stable housing.
"Thanks to The Boulevard I received the keys I needed
– not only to my own apartment but to my own life."
- Jerry F.
Twenty-nine years ago, our founders witnessed thousands of people with medical injuries entering shelters across Chicago with nowhere else to go. To break the cycle of homelessness, these individuals needed a place to recover and the opportunity to move on to stable housing. The Boulevard was founded in 1994 to answer this critical need.
Today, as a pioneer, we are one of the original medical respite care facilities in Illinois serving men and women experiencing homelessness with a full range of resources for holistic human healing. Through a continuum of programs and services, we help our clients gain the stability they need to restore their health and rebuild their lives.
Since 1994, we’ve helped over 10,500 men and women start a new life. Meet our former clients and read their stories below.
Before she was referred to The Boulevard, Troy was experiencing homelessness and staying on and off with friends and family for over two years. She was living in an environment of instability and drugs. Troy wanted to get better for her fiancé and her kids. “I didn’t want to be a burden to my family,” she said. “And I needed to get straight for me.”
Ever since Delores was in the fourth grade, she knew that she wanted to be a nurse when she grew up. She achieved her dream after attending junior college, receiving her License in Practical Nursing (LPN). Delores worked as an LPN for 15 years, and she and her husband raised three boys and a girl on the South Side of Chicago.
Carmen and her husband raised five boys in Parkway Gardens on the South Side of Chicago. On August 25, 2010, their son, Laverich, who was just 21 years old, was shot and killed outside of their home. Because of the trauma she experienced, Carmen stayed in the house and was afraid to go outside. She began having difficulty with ongoing panic attacks.
Gene lived in an abandoned building with no electricity, gas or running water for eight years. The winters were brutal for him. In December 2020, his feet turned black after becoming frostbitten. A friend took him to the Veterans Administration Medical Center, where Gene found out he was suffering from gangrene. The doctors at the VA had to amputate six toes. They removed all of Gene’s toes from one foot and one toe from his other foot. After Gene’s surgery, he had no place to recover, so the VA referred him to The Boulevard.
For 37 years, Lloyd worked at H. Kramer & Co., a metal recycling and refinery company in Chicago. But when Lloyd developed an addiction to alcohol, he not only lost his job, he lost his home and his relationships. Lloyd was living on the streets when he started having chest pains. He ended up at a hospital, where he had a heart stent procedure. After his procedure, he had nowhere to go, so the hospital referred him to The Boulevard.
Diana, a divorced mom, was working at a hospital in Northwest Indiana when she started having chest pains. Her doctor ordered her a pacemaker to forestall even more serious heart problems. While convalescing, Diana lost her job, along with her health insurance.
At 14, Augustus made the decision to leave a difficult home life and begin living on the streets of Chicago’s West Side. He was introduced to drugs and gangs and found himself caught in a cycle, where he remained for many years. In 2020, Augustus needed surgery. When it was time to be released from the hospital, because he was homeless, he was referred to The Boulevard.
In 2020, Shaun’s mother and sister passed away. He lost his entire immediate family, and he became homeless. It was too difficult for him to manage the loss and his health quickly deteriorated. As a result, he was hospitalized. When it was time to be released from the hospital, Shaun had no home to return to. Therefore, the hospital referred him to The Boulevard of Chicago.
At age 25, Kirsten was happily living in her own apartment in Columbus, Indiana, and studying to be a nurse. Then she was diagnosed with lupus, and her life became difficult more quickly than she could have ever imagined. After Kirsten became too ill to work, she eventually lost her job and apartment. Eventually, her doctor referred her to The Boulevard.
In addition to caring for clients at its Chicago facility, The Boulevard serves residents of the Lake Street Studios, a supportive housing development on Chicago’s Near West Side. Mr. Richard has resided at Lake Street Studios since its opening in 2015.
Glenn had been using drugs for 40 years and was homeless for several years before arriving at The Boulevard. He was once blind with cataracts and could not be treated until he passed a tox screen.
We all have a history. When Francisco visited The Boulevard a few weeks ago, he told us his story.
The recession left Ken, a union construction worker, out of work and without a place to live. He finally secured a job at a local hardware store only to be hit by a car on his way home from work. He was able to come to The Boulevard and recuperate while putting his life back together.
A long history of alcohol abuse and chronic illness landed Denise in the hospital. Thankfully she was discharged to The Boulevard, where she received a second chance.
Although Donald was working, the compensation was not enough to afford a home. Suffering from poorly managed diabetes and hypertension, he eventually had a stroke, which sent him to the hospital, after which he was referred to The Boulevard.
For her whole life Beverly felt alone – suffering from a chronic illness without the support of a community. Upon arriving at The Boulevard, she felt instantly connected to the residents around her.
It was a warm July day and Jake Starks, the first Executive Director at The Boulevard of Chicago (when it was still named Interfaith House) and a skeleton crew were working hard, preparing for the opening day scheduled in two weeks. The plan was to open in stages with men coming first and occupying the first floor, followed by women who would live on the second floor. The staff was in the process of getting the kitchen cleaned and in working order, but there was no food service yet.