Thanks to funding from the National Low Income Housing Coalition, Housing Action Illinois subgranted $10,000 to PADS Lake County. These funds supported the agency’s work providing interim housing and emergency shelter.
On an average winter night, PADS Lake County sees about 80 people in need of its services. But today, the agency is housing 150 clients, which it moved to hotel rooms due to the pandemic. To date, PADS has connected more than 200 individuals and families with shelter services and anticipates that this number will continue to climb as the public health crisis continues.
The organization’s normal shelter season typically ends April 30, but PADS isn’t slowing down its operations this year.
To comply with the CDC’s social distancing guidelines, PADS moved those using its shelter services into hotels and began delivering food to guests there. During the pandemic, the agency continues to provide transportation, case management, prescription drugs, and other essential services.
PADS projected it would spend more than $180,000 on hotel rooms through May 31. It has added two additional staff members and increased hours for part-time staff, making them full time. Additional costs include supplies, food, transportation, and cleaning services.
Housing Action Illinois has subgranted $10,000 to PADS Lake County, thanks to the National Low Income Housing Coalition. With the funding, PADS was able to provide 9,065 nights of shelter to 145 households during the months of May and June, and these numbers continue to grow. Although the stay-at-home order has lifted, PADS continues to provide hotel stays to families with children and anyone who is particularly vulnerable to COVID-19.
Members of the community have supported PADS Lake County during the pandemic by making donations and volunteering their time.
As part of its efforts, PADS hired an additional outreach case manager, who will engage with individuals in the community who are experiencing homelessness and are currently seeking shelter outdoors. While demand for services remains high, PADS is prioritizing several groups for overnight shelter, including people with chronic health conditions, families, those over age 65, and individuals staying in places not intended for habitation. Everyone entering a PADS facility will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms.
Michael, whose name has been changed to protect his privacy, had been in PADS’ shelter for nine months when the pandemic began. PADS was able to offer him a hotel room to shelter in place. Because this alleviated the stress and time Michael spent navigating to different shelter sites each night, he could turn his attention to creating a housing plan with his case manager. Now he has successfully moved out of the shelter system and into his own apartment. PADS says his story is an example of how grant funding has helped its clients shed their worries about finding a place to sleep during the pandemic.
PADS Lake County’s shelter system is coordinated with fifteen area religious organizations. PADS provides case management and other supportive services, primarily at its Day Resource Center in Waukegan. Overall, the organization serves about 2,000 clients each year.