Shield of Hope Alum Returns to Give Current Clients Hope

Apr 15, 2021

Teliyah remembers the day she arrived at The Salvation Army Shield of Hope emergency homeless assessment and rapid-response center with her three young daughters by her side. She was overwhelmed and out of options.

“I was crying,” she said. “I thought ‘I don’t want to do this, I don’t want to live a shelter.’”

Looking at Things Differently

One of Teliyah’s immediate fears was that her children would remember living in a homeless shelter for the rest of their lives. Teliyah (pictured above in the white sweater with Shield of Hope staff) didn’t want them to grow up thinking they needed to lean on others. But, she said the two weeks she spent at the Shield of Hope changed her perspective and helped her realize she wasn’t alone.

“It really made me look at things differently and realize that people are going through stuff,” Teliyah said.

Shield of Hope is designed to triage and assess families who find themselves homeless and place them into more stable living situations within 14 days. These clients receive case management and support services as well as access to job training, recreational and educational programs for the entire family, and treatment for substance use disorder.

After leaving the Shield of Hope, Teliyah reached out to the City of Chicago for rental assistance funds and learned she needed an agency sponsor to sign off. The staff at Shield of Hope offered to sponsor her and submit paperwork on her behalf. Teliyah was approved, and she and her daughters moved into their new apartment.

Sharing a Blessing

Two-and-a-half years later, Teliyah is thriving. She is in the process of opening her own children’s clothing boutique. And she’s sharing her good fortune with the very people who helped her get back on her feet. She recently surprised the Shield of Hope team with a phone call to make a $1,000 donation.

“I think it is good to give back,” Teliyah said. “I see so many families go through a lot of things. Even though I overcame, I received a blessing. So why not give one?”

Inspiring Others

Teliyah recently returned to the shelter to share her journey of overcoming adversity with the clients. Billie Woodard, Shield of Hope’s Coordinated Entry Coordinator, hopes Teliyah’s story shows the potential that exists beyond the shelter walls.

“Just be intentional, however way we can assist you to move yourself to where you have to go,” Woodard said. “Everybody has it in them. They may not have the confidence, the resources, the support system to push it on out. But everyone who walks through these doors: You have the potential to move on up.”

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