Long known as one of the wealthiest counties in the nation, Chicago area DuPage County is full of expensive and ornate housing developments, beautiful parks and top-rated schools; but contrary to common belief there are also over a thousand people without homes. Inside 27 locations across DuPage, homeless individuals and families find a warm meal and a comfortable place to sleep at DuPage PADS shelters.
Founded in 1985 with one location, DuPage PADS http://www.dupagepads.org/, began providing overnight shelter for the homeless in DuPage County. Today, the non-profit organization has 27 overnight shelters and an incredible 71 permanent apartments designed to provide homes for the homeless and break the cycle of homelessness.
In addition to providing shelter, DuPage PADS has a number of support programs in place to help the homeless population of DuPage find the resources they need. Within 72 hours of initial contact with PADS, a Triage Needs Assessment is conducted to help decide what kind of assistance is required to help the client into permanent housing. A daytime Client Service Center in Wheaton, IL offers assistance with both basic needs and opportunities for growth. Life skills coaching and support groups help the clients to overcome the barriers keeping them from sustained success.
The number one cause of homelessness is insufficient income, then loss of job. Many people lost their jobs in the downturn of the economy. For people without a support system, homelessness became the only option. A medical condition (which also includes physical conditions), along with alcohol and substance abuse are common within this population.
DuPage PADS helped over a thousand people last year, 174 of them were children. There were 128 families without homes. Thanks to the dedicated work of the DuPage PADS organization and selfless volunteers, families like these can receive the support they need to get a leg-up. The homeless are a group that is often neglected and ignored, especially in a county where mostly everyone has plenty. DuPage PADS recognized the deep and heartfelt needs of those suffering around them and responded to those needs over 25 years ago.
For this reason, I am incredibly grateful and excited to be collaborating with DuPage PADS over the course of the following months on a project which will result in a multi media presentation consisting of still photos, audio and video footage. Our project will be documenting the transition from homelessness to being in a permanent housing situation and is meant to raise the awareness of the public at large, locally and nationally, about homelessness, and how to help, by donating or volunteering. Stay tuned for more to come…