Woman in Illinois Shelter: ‘I was better off with my abuser’

EJF
March 15, 2014

Hello my name is [withheld]. I am currently located at a women’s shelter in La Grange, Illinois, called the Pillars/Constance Morris house. When I done my intake on the phone I thought me and my children would be safe and treated with respect here.
We ran from Missouri because of the abuse from my husband and him trying to kill me. But coming into this shelter has been a total nightmare I have witnessed staff verbally abusing residents and refusing to help the residents with resources to help us start a new life.
We are told we can only use sugar for coffee and not cereal. Our children are not allowed to use the play room and there is nothing for them to do. Also we are constantly threatened to be written up for anything. We cannot help each other with our chores.
We feel like we are being abused here and we are still with our abusers. Myself, when I called for my intake I let them know I was disabled. But when me and my children came here some staff have been rude and due to the amount of cleaning and going up and down 3 flights of stairs my condition has gotten so bad I had to go the hospital after pleading with staff to lighten my chores so I would not be in so much pain. Staff wouldn’t believe me and acted like they didn’t care even after seeing the nurse who was very careless about helping me to do easier chores and have access to the elevator so I would not be in so much pain.
I even contacted my doctor who called the shelter to let them know what I could and could not do. I was later called in the office and told that this facility is not handicap accessible and I would have to find somewhere else for my kids to go. Because in order to be in their program I have to be able to do more chores than the dishes and wipe tables which my primary care physician called them and told them. Heavy duty cleaning is what I have to be able to do to stay here in this program.
I don’t know anyone here in Illinois but a few friends. I feel so used and violated. They tell us they have no funding and cannot provide transportation for us ladies. We have no Internet access to look for jobs and houses.
The food is issued out to us and our children and if we can eat it. If we are just hungry we get wrote up if we cook after a certain time.
I ran out of my medicine and another resident took me to get my meds and we were 11 minutes late and got yelled at. Even had to sign a warning paper but the lady who tried to help me was wrote up.
They will not provide us with a resource list to find help in the community to get clothes and bus passes. One staff was too lazy to even get me and others a glass of water when we take our meds.
I brought up a few of these issues to the supervisor only to be told a grievance has to be written but will not be dealt with until the resident leaves the shelter.
Me and my children are going to be homeless because I can’t perform the chores and they can’t accommodate my needs as a handicap person. The nurse lied on me and I refused to do an assessment when I was in so much pain from doing so many chores and walking 3 flights of stairs I was asking for lighter chores and to use the elevator. I had my doctor call to verify my condition and let them know what I could and could not do. I was still made to take the stairs and it resulted in me having to go to the hospital that same day. I suffer from PTSD, major depressive disorder, carpal tunnel syndrome, degenerative disc disease, and fibromyalgia.
I was better off with my abuser, sorry to say. Someone please help us.

Source: http://www.ejfi.org/DV/dv-61.htm