CHICAGO (CBS) – She lived in shelters, for a year and a half, without privacy and up to 20 people in a room with you at a time.
That was reality for a 73-year-old woman from Edgewater, until a case manager who knew about a Chicago Housing Authority emergency voucher program changed her life. CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot told her story.
Joe Ann Wilson likes to take care of his plants in his new apartment. She has lived there for almost five months.
“It’s just wonderful to have a place of your own,” Wilson said.
She said she lost her old apartment, where she lived for almost two decades.
“The landlord decided he wanted more rent and he asked me to move out,” she recalls.
Le Mignot: “And it was basically that?”
Wilson“Yeah, from then on I was homeless.”
Wilson spent about a year and a half in different shelters. There were times when she thought she couldn’t.
“Sometimes I thought maybe I should get out of here,” she said. “Something inside me kept reaching, because I knew there had to be something better.”
A case manager completely changed her life by helping her find an apartment in Edgewater.
“She gave me hope,” Wilson said. “She gave me love.”
Wilson talks about Lakyna Dorrough, a rapid relocation case manager.
“I’m so proud of her,” Dorrough said, fighting back tears. “So proud and I’m glad we walked into each other’s lives because she showed me why I do this.”
Wilson was able to connect with Dorrough through one of the shelters where she lived. Dorrough became her case manager and told her about the Chicago Housing Authority’s emergency housing voucher program, to find her a new place to live.
“It’s really heartwarming,” said Cheryl Burns, who oversees the program. “That’s what we hope to accomplish every day. You know we wake up with the goal of helping families, so when you hear a story like this, it really reminds you why you do this work. “
And that job is something Wilson will never forget.
“I’m so grateful,” she said.
Those who receive the vouchers pay 30% of their monthly income for rent.
CHA received 1,165 emergency housing vouchers from HUD last year. All are counted.
The CHA directs the country’s major housing authorities in renting with these vouchers.