top of page
A New home for white SSHS logo.png


In 2019, Cook County announced the first-ever opportunity for capital funds to build animal shelter capacity in our County. 

After an exhaustive application process, a professional panel recommended the South Suburban Humane Society receive $6,000,000 towards a new animal resource campus.  On May 21, 2020, this recommendation was approved by the Cook County Board of Commissioners at their monthly meeting. On October 12, 2020, SSHS signed a 99-year ground lease with the Village of Matteson to build a new shelter campus there. 


You have the opportunity to join us in this progressive campus as we redefine the ways we serve our community and its pets.  You can invest in lifesaving today.

Naming Opportunities
Pledge Form
Brick Garden Order

Watch Our Campaign Video!

The Journey


Black Dog


A group of dedicated animal lovers established the South Suburban Humane Society and began taking in unwanted and stray pets into their homes.

Cat Eyes


A small portion of the current shelter at 1103 West End Ave in Chicago Heights was purchased and SSHS moved into 2,000 square feet of a building designed as a warehouse and a printing press.

Dog Outside


Thanks to a capital campaign, SSHS raised $500,000 to purchase the rest of the current shelter building and renovated it to the best of their ability.



Out of room again, the lobby and intake areas were built on.  The resulting structure is a hodgepodge of 5 different structures.



The High Volume Low Cost Spay/Neuter Clinic was established to actively mitigate the unwanted pet population in our communities.  SSHS has rented the Clinic space in two different plazas to this point.  52,500 surgeries have been performed to date.



To actively help pet owners in our communities keep their pets, the South Suburban Low Cost Veterinary Services Clinic was founded as an LLC partnership with Coyne Veterinary Services.  The SSLCVSC rents space next to the Spay/Neuter Clinic currently.


June 2019

As SSHS took on more municipal stray hold contracts including the contract for Cook County, we were out of space once again.  Thanks to a generous donor who wants to remain anonymous, the Homewood Adoption Center was established in the former Homewood Animal Hospital building in Homewood.  With 30 indoor/outdoor kennel runs, adoption suites, and a surgical suite, the HAC is integral to our adoption success.  


November 2019

Cook County issues the first ever RFP for “A New Home for Cook County’s Animals” and SSHS applies

Black Dog

Fall 2020

Contracts approved and land in Matteson at Central Avenue & Lincoln Highway secured. 

Model Cat

October 27, 2020

Groundbreaking Ceremony

Dog's Portrait

April 15, 2021

Construction begins

Image by Manja Vitolic

Spring 2022

Grand Opening


The number of strays coming into SSHS has increased by 108% from 2016 to 2019.

  • From 2016 to 2020, SSHS’ municipal contracts multiplied from 2 to 11.  

  • The main shelter location in a hidden neighborhood does not promote adoptions or volunteerism.

  • Our Small Dog Adoption Room has no drains and no direct access to outside.  All dogs have to be walked through a hallway and large room to go outside for morning cleaning.  All kennels must be towel dried out.  This is a huge staff and resource inefficiency.

  • We have no dedicated space for humane education or community group visits.

The Need
The Vision


A Community Animal Welfare Campus 

For the first time in the South Suburban Humane Society’s history, we have the opportunity to build a modern, intentional campus from the ground up.  The pets and people of Chicago’s Southland deserve a beautiful space for adoption, services, and educational opportunities. 

Our future plans for the space include a potential dog park, wildlife center, and parking lot trail access to a major walking/biking trail located on the land.

image (1).png
  • The campus will be 2 ½ times the size of our current facility.

  • Separate entrances for Adoptions & Intake.

  • Modern double-sided animal housing designed for lowering stress

  • Several separate isolation and holding areas to minimize disease and stress

  • Outdoor “catio” for access to fresh air for our cats!

  • Natural light exposure in most areas for people and pets

  • Indoor meet and greet rooms and outdoor meet and greet areas

  • Proper HVAC to decrease disease and odor

  • Education and event room with a gorgeous outdoor patio for classes, birthday parties, groups, and events

  • A partnership with Brewing for Good Coffee to brew and sell their vegan fair-trade coffee in our lobby to welcome guests.

  • Appropriate administrative and volunteer office space, bathrooms, storage, separated laundry and food preparation by species, etc.

  • Outdoor walking trails in a gorgeous prairie/wetland setting for the whole community and dog walkers to enjoy.


South Suburban Humane Society Struggles With Overflow After Largest Shelter in County Ends Contract

December 28, 2018

"When a large animal shelter doesn’t re-sign a contract in Cook County, what happens?" asked South Suburban Humane Society CEO Emily Klehm.

Smaller shelters like the South Suburban Humane Society are left to pick up the slack.

SSHS awarded $6 million grant for new facility

 May 28, 2020

Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle announced a $6 million Housing Cook County’s Animals grant to help pay for a new animal resource campus for the South Suburban Humane Society.

Cook County awards $8 million in animal shelter grants to city of Evanston, south suburban nonprofit

MAY 28, 2020

Two animal shelters in Cook County are getting a combined $8 million to expand their facilities and ensure there is no overcrowding.

Local officials, rescue dogs attend groundbreaking for new South Suburban Humane Society facility

OCTOBER 27, 2020

Construction officially began Tuesday, Oct. 27, on the new South Suburban Humane Society facility.

SSHS and government officials gathered with canine friends Sheila, Freddy and Zoro at the site at 21100 Central Ave. in Matteson for a ceremonial groundbreaking. 

Matteson Breaks Ground At South Suburban Humane Society Ceremony
OCTOBER 27, 2020

The village will soon be home to the new 26,000 square-foot South Suburban Humane Society.

Contact Us

(708) 755-7387 ext 275

bottom of page