Founded in 1984 by the late Reverend Robert Johnson, Inner Voice’s mission remains to support socially and economically disadvantaged persons in their quest to obtain self-reliance and a place to call home. Reverend Johnson began attending to the physical needs of individuals experiencing homelessness on the near west side of Chicago where he operated a soup kitchen. He quickly realized that while food was essential to survival, a broader array of services was necessary to help people realize their potential and thrive.
Throughout its thirty-one years of service to the homeless community, Inner Voice has gained extensive experience serving very low or no income single men and women, women with children and two-parent families experiencing homelessness or at-risk of homelessness, helping them to identify the underlying causes of their current condition and acquire the resources to change their destinies. Inner Voice assists individuals and families to rapidly secure permanent housing, establish an income and, whenever possible, gain employment that pays a living wage supporting both the Housing First approach and the goals of Chicago’s Plan 2.0 A Home for Everyone.
Inner Voice programs provide a continuum of care recognizing that individual participants will require different levels of service. Some reach housing stability and improve their life circumstances relatively quickly and are referred to permanent supportive housing, Rapid Rehousing and market affordable apartments in the private sector. Others require more intense levels of intervention to reach their goals and are often served by one of Inner Voice’s two transitional housing programs and Chronic Homeless Initiative or the myriad of like agencies with whom staff have established relationships. To accomplish these goals staff work with a cadre of mental/physical health, employment and related social service agencies.
“Ubuntu”, a South African word, means humanity towards others, recognizing the value in all human beings, and understanding that an affront against one is an affront against all. And the most basic affront is the lack of food and shelter. This word and it’s meaning align perfectly with the mission of Inner Voice. Inner Voice is dedicated to ending homelessness in Chicago and will continue to serve homeless Chicagoans until it fulfills its mission.