Health & Wellness

Newly-renovated domestic violence shelter to open in La Grange

The shelter, run by Pillars Community Health, was renovated for the first time in five decades

NBC Universal, Inc.

A newly-renovated domestic violence shelter in La Grange is set to reopen this week and, for the first time, the non-profit that operates the shelter is publicizing its location.

Run by Pillars Community Health, Constance Morris House, located at 327 Bluff Avenue in La Grange, was recently renovated for the first time since the 1970s.

“We wanted to make sure that this environment was conducive to healing,” said Kim Stephens, Vice President of Domestic and Sexual Violence Services at Pillars Community Health.

The former building had dormitory style rooms and community bathrooms, which made isolating difficult during the coronavirus pandemic, forcing PCH to operate the shelter out of hotel rooms. The silver lining – they were able to undertake a major renovation of the facility.

“The rooms are small, but they have their own bathrooms, so there aren’t community bathrooms, which is wonderful,” said Angela Curran, President & CEO at Pillars Community Health.

The updated facility consists of 11 rooms, some adjoining, and can house up to 44 domestic violence survivors and their children, which will help PCH meet an increased demand for services.

“Every day our hotline is ringing constantly. And we provide so many services not just shelter services, legal and medical advocacy, therapy, case management,” Stephens said.

Along with the brand new facilities, a new policy to publicly share the shelter’s address to help erase the stigma that can prevent victims from seeking help.

“If we can release the stigma, bring it out of the shadows, there is help. There is help. It is not something to be ashamed of,” Stephens said.

One of the reasons PCH wants to get the word out about the La Grange facility is because it is the only emergency overnight domestic violence shelter in the near west and southwest suburbs. PCH says the nearest overnight facilities are located approximately 10 miles to the east or west and 20 miles north or south.

“In this area of Cook County, we are the safe haven,” Curran said.

Safety is a priority. Constance Morris House is now protected by a security system with more than a dozen cameras, monitored 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as well as community support.

“There is strength in numbers. And we know that if people around here know that we're here, they're going to be looking out for us as well,” Stephens said.

Federal grant money secured by Congressman Jesús “Chuy” García and Former House Representative Jim Durkin, along with contributions from the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS), the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Hinsdale Junior Women’s Club and The Hope Chest helped pay for the cost of the renovation.

The shelter is open to survivors 365 days a year.

“They call the hotline and we provide immediate case management over the phone, if somebody shows up, we will welcome them in. We will do an intake and if we find that it's not an appropriate setting for them, we will find an appropriate setting for them,” Stephens said.

If you or a loved one is in crisis, Pillars Community Health 24-hour confidential domestic violence hotline is 708-485-5254.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

Contact Us