Before the Civil War, a ministry of the Good Shepherd nuns founded the House of the Good Shepherd in 1859 when they began caring for Chicago's troubled women and children. The sisters helped these marginalized families reclaim their dignity and prepared them to find employment through vocational education. The organization was incorporated in 1867.

In 1951 Eunice Kennedy Shriver worked as a social worker at House of the Good Shepherd. During the Vietnam War, the facility was moved to its current location and by 1980 House of the Good Shepherd had become one of four of the first domestic violence shelters in the City of Chicago.

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Since that time, House of the Good Shepherd has served over 5,900 abuse survivors. Our target population is economically and educationally deprived persons from the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago's inner city and throughout the greater Chicagoland area. Many of those we serve are profoundly troubled and face staggering psychological and mental challenges.

Most have little or no source of income and no place to live other than to return to an abusive relationship. House of the Good Shepherd welcomes survivors of violence and abuse regardless of race, ethnic origin, economic status, marital status, sexual orientation, religious affiliation, or physical, cognitive, or developmental ability. All are offered love, compassion, and respect.

House of the Good Shepherd is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation. Of greatest significance, our funding has and will continue to be based on the merits of our programs. We are funded entirely by donations from private sources such as foundations, corporations, organizations, and individuals.

We are not supported by the United Way, or any federal, state, or local government. Our independent status enables House of the Good Shepherd to tailor programs suited to the individual needs of each family we serve, without being restricted to the limitations of a restrictive “one size fits all” approach. 

On July 1, 2015 the Good Shepherd nuns of the Province of Mid-North America transferred their corporate leadership over House of the Good Shepherd to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago. House of the Good Shepherd retains its own 501(c)(3) status. All funds raised for the House of the Good Shepherd go directly to support the House of the Good Shepherd.