Thursday, January 24, 2008

West Suburban PADS

Some facts to start,
1) most homeless, up to 65% are homeless for less than 15 days.
2) Statistics show that up to 45% of homeless people are working full or part-time positions. A person working full-time at $7.00 per hour ($2.50 more than the $5.50 miniumum wage) earns$14,560 annually before taxes. Many others are disabled and are unable to work, or their benefits are not enough to afford housing and daily living expenses.
3) 57% of persons in Transitional Housing are children.

Being poor can mean that someone is only an illness, an accident, or a paycheck away from homelessness.
West Suburban PADS is a wonderful group of people that help those in crisis get back on their feet. Through their many programs they feed, house and provide people with access to find work and homes.
Please see for information on the programs and ways to help.

Each night of the week at a different location in the Oak Park area a shelter is set up with sleeping pads, a blanket and a pillow. Food is cooked and served by volunteer families and people from the local community.
At 7.15pm guest enter the building, get signed in, dress their pad for the night, and get a hot meal.
One night each week at First United Church in Oak Park there is a medical clinic for guests to avail of.

Then it's lights out for the night. In the morning the guests get breakfast and a pack lunch. A wake-up call is available for those whose work starts before the 7am time to leave.

At the day center in Maywood, open weekdays, there is case management, showers, lockers, access to voice mail and internet to find work, job referrals etc...

Monday night when the temp. was way below freezing I went to the shelter at First United and met the guests and volunteers, and took these photos. It was a really nice group of people, some with sad stories. One man with a brain tumor, waiting to get an operation. Another, this was his first ever night in a shelter after loosing his home because he ran into some health issues and lost his job, therefore his insurance. The health issues seemed to far out weigh the usual presumed 'addiction' that we think of with homeless. And the guest that night did not for the most part resemble street people, just regular people we interact with on a daily bases.

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