Ministry of Service to Homeless Women and Mothers with Children
in Lake County, Illinois
745 N Milwaukee Ave, Libertyville, IL 60048
Office: 847-367-5360
FAX: 847-680-4094

The mission of Maristella is to promote self-sufficiency of homeless women and mothers with children in Lake County, Illinois, by providing assistance with finding safe, clean, affordable housing and providing rent subsidies and educational services.

“From homeless to hopeful, Maristella creates a rippling effect in our community.” Copyright © 2014 Eunice Bridges

The History of Maristella

We started in 1995 when three women wanted to do something about homelessness. We did not know where to go or what the need was. After three years of studying the homeless situation in Lake County, we decided to work with homeless women and children. Having very little funding, we asked the Franciscan Friars at Marytown for office space. They graciously offered us several cubby spaces. These spaces grew until in 2001 we moved into two offices right near the East entrance of Marytown.

We've now moved to our current location at 745 N Milwaukee Ave in Libertyville.

On Oct 10, 1998, we took in our first client. Today we have assisted over 1700 families. We assist with case management, rental subsidy, food, clothing, household goods and furniture. We have developed programs to help our clients toward self-sufficiency:

  • Urgent Needs Program: This program assists clients with rent, food and clothing. It also allows us to place families in hotels on an emergency basis.

  • M.O.M., Moms of Maristella, is a program for all women and children. We meet once each month at a Church. We have professional speakers on topics such as parenting skills, budgeting skills, health care, child safety, etc. Childcare is provided. Clients who attend these meetings receive special benefits during the Holidays. We have a raffle at each meeting. At the July meeting, children receive school supplies. At Thanksgiving time each family receive a food basket and a turkey. At Christmas time, clients fill a wish list for their families. These items are purchased by the local high schools. Christmas parties are held. The students and staff participate with the clients and families. It is always a joy to see the children enjoying games and partying together.

  • The Shower Ministry: This ministry provides families who are moving into an apartment for the first time with household goods. This ministry is taken care of by the North Shore Unitarian Church. They collect these household goods and deliver them to the home. Things that we take for granted are sometimes not available to a person who has been homeless.

  • Other programs are dependent on funds from grants as we receive them. We help families in Domestic Violence situations when we have funding to place them in hotels or give them a new start with the Security Deposit. Other grants such as the EFSG program give us funding for food and hotel stays.

  • The ESL program: English as a Second Language. Together with the Mundelein Adult Education program we have a class for Spanish speaking people who can come to class every day for one hour. This is a new program and is doing very well. We have about 10 people who attend class on a daily basis. Learning English will help them get a better job.

Maristella has a Board of eight members and an Advisory Board of five members. We have a paid case worker and a part time Administrative Assistant through Department and Human Services. Maristella uses many volunteers in the office and for sorting donations.

Maristella is part of the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless. We are also part of the Continuum of Care for the Homeless in Lake County. Maristella works together with other agencies in Lake County to provide shelter, food and basic necessities for the homeless or those at risk of becoming homeless.

In March 2002, Maristella opened its first Home. This is a transitional facility. Families with two children under the age of 9 may reside in the home for six months to one year. We have four moms and two children living in the home. The home is a group home following the Oxford House Guidelines. The women are all working and paying $100 a week rent. After six months to one year the women will move into their own apartments.

Maristella looks to open a second home in the near future. We also look to partner with Catholic Charities, a large agency which we already have worked with. This agency will be able to provide more social services for our clients. Maristella also hopes to find their own building to provide permanent housing for families.

Maristella is a non-profit organization.
Copyright © 2003, Maristella
(Webmaster: Dale Dellutri)