History & Mission
LPCS Mission & Vision
The Lincoln Park Community Shelter brings communities together to empower homeless men and women to make and sustain life changes.
- We will provide a holistic continuum of services that removes barriers and increases self-sufficiency.
- We will be a leader and innovator in creating solutions to homelessness in our community.
- We believe that every person in our community has a stake in and can contribute to ending homelessness.
- Accountability: The LPCS, its guests, and stakeholders comprise a community of common interest - each group supports and is accountable to the other. The LPCS and its guests are accountable to each other for the success of each individual and programs overall. The LPCS is also accountable to its many volunteers, donors, and the community at large to provide quality programs that enhance the lives of all those involved.
- Self-Determination: Guests take ownership of the change process by setting short and long-term goals according to their needs. Guests and staff work in partnership, developing individually tailored programs that enable guests to achieve their goals.
- Community Engagement: LPCS, its guests, and its supporters work with Lincoln Park residents, local community organizations, faith communities, and the business community to ensure mutual respect, understanding, and cooperation.
In 1985, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimated that 25,000 people would be homeless in Chicago. A group of concerned neighbors in the Lincoln Park area of Chicago got together to discuss a way to help homeless people in their community.
To establish the Lincoln Park Community Shelter, a partnership was formed with four neighboring churches: the Church of Our Saviour Episcopal Church, Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church, St. Clement Catholic Church, and St. Pauls United Church of Christ. On February 12, 1985, the Lincoln Park Community Shelter opened its doors to a handful of homeless neighbors. The LPCS is not religiously affiliated, and is completely privately funded. Operating on a modest budget, we rely largely on the support of volunteers. Truly a community-based organization, the LPCS has always been operated by an annual pool of more than 1,500 volunteers who serve as meal providers and overnight supervisors.
Since its inception, the LPCS has grown in many ways. The churches continued to provide not only sleeping facilities, but kitchen facilities, showers, storage rooms, laundry areas, and offices as a meal program was added, capacity increased to 40 beds, and social services were offered to help guests return to self-sufficiency. In October 1996 a comprehensive social service program (On Track Program) was developed to address barriers to housing and to work with individuals to overcome these obstacles.
In 1999, the Chicago Coalition for the Homeless estimated that 80,000 people would be homeless in Chicago in the course of one year, a 300% increase from 1985. In May 1999 the LPCS made the transition from a seasonal shelter (operating only during the months of October-May) to a year-round facility, offering continuous support throughout the entire year! However, capacity was reduced from 40 to 20 during the summer months. In the summer of 2004, the LPCS remained at a capacity of 40 guests throughout the summer months for the first time. This expansion allowed the LPCS to offer over 3,000 additional nights of shelter to guests.
The Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce selected the LPCS as recipient of the 2004 Community Contributor to Lincoln Park Award. The LPCS was honored at an awards luncheon on May 6, 2004, where it also received a Proclamation acknowledging the LPCS from Mayor Richard M. Daley. The award is given annually to an organization which has made a significant contribution to benefit local residents, businesses, and community at large through the commitment of time and other resources.
In 2004, the LPCS began a capital campaign to renovate one of its program sites, the basement of the Lincoln Park Presbyterian Church. To read more about the campaign and renovation, click here. Construction began in October 2006, and the newly renovated facility opened in June 2007, offering 24-hour services for the first time, and much improved living and program space for 35 guests, including separate quarters for up to 11 women.
On February 12, 2010, the Lincoln Park Community Shelter celebrated its 25th year of service to the homeless. The LPCS continues to rely on the support of volunteers and supporters throughout the community. Much appreciation goes to the founding churches, community residents and businesses for continuing to support the LPCS.
In 2011, the Lincoln Park Community Shelter received the Alford-Axelson Award for Non-Profit Managerial Excellence.
On February, 2012, the Lincoln Park Community Shelter was the recipient of the Unity Award from Saint Josaphat Parish. The award is given annually to one organization that demonstrates excellence in Community Service, outreach, and unity amongst other individuals and organizations in the neighborhood.