The Genesis story captures the imaginations of readers both for the magnitude of the task and the power of the Creator. We are in awe of God who transforms a barren void into teeming life. For women prostitutes on the streets of Chicago, that power is manifest in the mission and vision of Genesis House, a place of hospitality, support, education, and hope.
If you were on the streets, living for the next fix, recovering from the last trick, fearful of violence from your pimp or customer, wondering where to sleep or how you’ll feed your children, what would you need? No doubt you would need many things. Certainly you would need some space.
Genesis House seeks to provide that space by creating a place for women. The mission is to provide an environment where women can make choices regarding their lifestyle and have access to the support services necessary to enable them to leave prostitution. A primary commitment of all who work there is not to judge.
"It’s all about hope and it’s all about choices," says Jean D. Lachowicz, executive director. "Resurrection happens here every single day."
For those who live in the house long term, who seek shelter in a time of crisis, or who participate in hospitality programs including counseling, peer support, and GED (high school equivalency) and job training, the message from Genesis House is that you can reconstruct your life. Since it was founded in 1984 by British Catholic lay missionary Edwina Gateley, Genesis House has been a place to begin again.
Here it matters if you’re alive, it matters if you’re sober, it matters if you have taken steps to get out of prostitution. In fact, Genesis House considers a woman to be successful every time she opts for a self-constructive lifestyle. The program goal is to support and guide a woman through this decision-making process.