Editorial: Suburban generosity comes to aid of homeless women, children

There aren't many things more heartbreaking than the plight of the homeless, especially when it involves women and their young children.

The thought of children having no warm, safe, comfortable space to lay their heads at night and wake up in the morning should be troubling to anyone who has a roof overhead and a bed and meals every night. Homelessness happens all too often, stemming from a range of factors, and carrying no clear and easy solutions.

Help often comes from the generosity of suburban residents and organizations such as Lazarus House in St. Charles, a combination that joined forces to offer a little more aid to those in need in the St. Charles, Batavia and Geneva area.

Lazarus House recently announced it exceeded the $1.7 million fundraising goal by some $300,000 for a capital campaign that will allow it to open a new and improved safe haven for women and children within the same facility as all other Lazarus House programs starting this month. Currently, women and children have to wake up and leave the building at 214 Walnut St. and walk across the street to the Women and Children's Day Center, a secured living environment away from male guests.

The project was funded by 140 donors, who gave an average gift of more than $14,000 - an impressive response to a critical need. We salute Lazarus House and other groups providing shelter to the homeless and urge them to continue their important work.

That's because the need is very much alive. Lazarus House shelters 50 people from the community on any day. Citing 2017 statistics, the National Alliance to End Homelessness said 10,798 Illinoisans are homeless on any given night, less than the national average.

The Lazarus House renovation project will put the women and children's sleeping area and the daily living quarters in the same building. The new space will include a children's play area, updated bathrooms, washers and dryers and a kitchen and dining area.

"Lazarus House through the years has been a beacon of hope for those who have fallen on difficult time," Dr. John Mason, co-chair of the campaign told our Lauren Rohr. "The Tri-City communities have responded positively to the financial needs required by Lazarus House to enhance its mission."

Look around the suburbs and it's not hard to find generosity at work.

Whether it's 5K events to raise money for the fight against ALS or some other dreaded disease or the dollar bills, loose change and yes, even gold coins tossed in Salvation Army kettles during the holiday season, people in the suburbs are aware of the plight of those suffering or are less fortunate and ready give some of their treasure to help.

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