The Crisis Center for South Suburbia has been providing hope and services to victims of domestic violence for 40 years through housing, counseling, advocacy, outreach and prevention programs. While the Crisis Center for South Suburbia was officially incorporated in 1979, the work of the organization actually began in 1976 when a group of dedicated members of the Committee on Women of the Palos Branch of the American Association University Women began to study the issue of domestic violence in the south suburbs. The committee established a “hotline” in Dianne Masters’ kitchen in 1978 and the Crisis Center for South Suburbia was incorporated in 1979. Eight beds were secured at a local community center and professional counselors were hired. A year later, a farmhouse, capable of sheltering nineteen women and children was secured by the agency. Counseling sessions took place on the back porch in the summer, and in the busy living room in colder weather. Staff, volunteers and nineteen clients shared a single bathroom. The need was greater than this small house could accommodate. A capital campaign was initiated in 1989, raising $1.3 million. In 1991, a 35-bed facility built specifically as a shelter for victims of domestic violence was dedicated, and still today stands as a reminder of that early vision.
Today, the Crisis Center for South Suburbia operates a 35-bed emergency shelter and has impacted the lives of more than 60,000 people. With a staff of more than 50 employees and a budget of nearly three million dollars, the Crisis Center continues to grow while offering free services to Chicago’s south suburban communities.