Plans to open a transitional shelter for homeless women at First United Methodist Church were discussed at a 1st Ward meeting in Evanston Tuesday night.

Senior Pastor Grace Imathiu said church members decided to open the shelter after a homeless woman, Tanuel Major, was killed while sleeping on the steps outside the church in November 2018.

The death “broke our hearts as a congregation,” Imathiu said. She said the church, at 516 Church St., had the space to create a shelter and decided to partner with Connections for the Homeless to run it because Connections has the know-how to operate the shelter.

The shelter will be named Daisy’s Place, after the nickname by which Major was known.

Betty Bogg.

Betty Bogg, executive director of Connections, said the agency began operating a shelter for men at Lake Street Church in Evanston 35 years ago. 

The YWCA Evanston/North Shore has a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence, Bogg said, but until now there hasn’t been a shelter in Evanston for women who don’t fall into that category and who don’t have children in their care but need a place to stay.

Bogg said the new shelter will accommodate five women and will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. every day and that it has already received required zoning approvals from the city.

She said that during the day the women will be able to take advantage of the agency’s case management services located at Lake Street Church and be able to have dinner there.

The men’s shelter at Hilda’s Place currently accommodates 18 men, and it’s always full, Bogg added.

She invited residents at the 1st Ward meeting to attend a Milestones Celebration that Connections will hold at First Church at 6 p.m. tonight to honor progress being made by program participants. The meeting will include a tour of the lower-level space at the church where the new shelter is scheduled to open early next year.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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