St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church - Naperville, IL

Transitional Housing Success Story

The St. Thomas Transitional Housing Ministry works with Bridge Communities to support families as they strive to move to self-sustainability. St. Thomas provided apartment rent and mentors for families over what is normally a two year period. Below is Connie’s success story as told by St. Thomas mentors, Bonnie O’Brien and John Zimnie. For more information on becoming a Transitional Housing mentor, contact Frank Szymanek at

When “Connie” first broached the idea of moving to the South with her family, we were glad that she wanted to move ahead decisively with her life but urged caution. This would be a big step. As so often happened during our journey with her, Connie was way ahead of us, anticipating issues before we even brought them up.

She is moving to a suburb of Memphis. She lived there for a while as a teenager. The area is a lot more diverse than DuPage Co. Reflecting regional norms housing in her new city is much less expensive than any town near Naperville. The median house cost is $175K. That is less than the mortgage that Connie has been approved for. She’ll be getting a lot more house and land there than she would ever afford here in northern Illinois. Again by regional norms the schools are considered excellent … something very important for Connie.

Connie’s job is secure. She had been working from home well before the coronavirus hit. Her boss is very happy with her work and has assured her that she will maintain a full-time job once she has moved. And her wage goes a lot farther in the Memphis area than it does here.

Connie has been pre-approved for a mortgage by a regional bank. She has also been qualified for a $7,000 grant from the state, which does not have to be repaid as long as she stays in the house for fourteen years. Connie says this will be her “forever house.” And she has lined up a realtor with whom she feels comfortable. She’s going to go house hunting soon now that the school year is over.

She and her children will be about 30 minutes away from her dad who is experiencing several significant health issues. One of her brothers already lives nearby and her mother and sister are also relocating. So her familial support system will be intact down there.

So although it would have been nice to have a Bridge “success story” stay near us, we are extremely happy (and not a little bit proud) that our efforts and Bridge’s support have had such a significant impact on Connie’s life and that of her children.

— Bonnie O’Brien and John Zimnie (Transitional Housing Mentors for Connie and her children)