Local News

Lazarus House executive director recognized for her efforts in the community

Julie Purcell receives award from the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council

Lazarus House Executive Director Julie Purcell thought she was at the June 18 Charlemagne Awards Gala to pick up the Civic Image Award that Lazarus House received for its recent remodeling project.

So Purcell was surprised when she was also presented with an award from the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce Women’s Business Council – its annual L.E.A.P award. L.E.A.P. stands for Leadership-Excellence-Achievement-Professionalism.

“I’m very honored,” Purcell said. “You know, a lot of times in life you just go about doing the right thing and you don’t really thing about all the stuff you do.”

Lazarus House is a charitable organization based in downtown St. Charles. It offers safe shelter, food and support services to men, women and children connected to St. Charles, Geneva, Batavia and western rural Kane County who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

Purcell became executive director of Lazarus House in August 2020 after taking on different roles in the last 10 years, including being development/associate director just prior to becoming executive director.

“I have a wonderful team,” she said. “All the employees here, we all work together to do what’s best for the guests that we are blessed to serve. And I have a great board of directors behind me.”

Besides her work with Lazarus House, the award also honors her other activities, such as her work with the Tri Cities Mothers of Twins and Triplets club.

Lazarus House received a Civic Image Award from the St. Charles Chamber of Commerce for its recent project to remodel a section of its emergency shelter to include a commercial kitchen, congregate bathroom for both men and women to use and a children’s powder room for use at night.

“In the middle of the pandemic, we did a major renovation of our kitchen and bathroom stations for our emergency shelter,” Purcell said. “We used to have a small galley style kitchen. We renovated it and created a commercial kitchen. We put in a congregate bathroom so multiple people can be using the bathroom space at the same time. And then we created a separate nighttime bathroom for the women and children so that they would have their own designated area.”

The flooring in the shelter was also replaced. Lazarus House was able to do the project because of a $100,000 grant from Impact100 Chicago.