This spring with the state of the economy headlining news across the country, keeping a job, paying the mortgage and staying out of debt is constantly on everyone’s mind. McHenry County residents are no exception—some being one paycheck away from disaster.
Homelessness no longer discriminates in who it labels. Those once considered well-off are finding themselves downsized out of a job, unable to pay their mortgage or feed their family. Embarrassment often keeps these individuals from reaching out to family and friends and sometimes there is no one to reach out to.
This is where McHenry County PADS, a division of Pioneer Center for Human Services, comes into play.
This spring, McHenry County PADS is organizing the third annual SleepOut for Shelter. Taking place Saturday, May 12, at Immanuel Lutheran School in Crystal Lake, the event is a countywide, educational experience and fundraiser that is the perfect opportunity for individuals to get a glimpse into what life would be like if all the luxuries we take for granted disappeared.
Event participants will spend the night outside in tents, boxes or cars to raise awareness and money. Through the collection of pledges for spending one night outside the comfort of their home, participants will help homeless individuals in their search for shelter and a new beginning. Participants can either sleep out at the rally site or they can turn their own lawn into a temporary homeless shelter site.
Last year, SleepOut for Shelter raised nearly $60,000 for programs that served more than 530 homeless individuals in our community—including 60 families and 99 children. Everyone is invited to participate in SleepOut for Shelter or to make a contribution. To register or find more information, visit www.sleepoutforshelter.com or call 815.759.7282.
Most people know McHenry County PADS as a provider of emergency shelter. In fact, it is the largest provider of shelter and services to the county’s men, women and children who have become homeless.
The lesser known side of McHenry County PADS, though, is that they do much more than just provide a night of shelter. The program offers a whole host of services that are designed specifically to transition a person out of homelessness and into permanent housing. Individuals have access to case management, counseling, job training, transportation and many day-to-day necessities through the Day Center including hot meals, lockers for temporary storage, laundry facilities, an address at which to receive mail, classes, computers and more.
Whether an individual’s needs are short term or long term, McHenry County PADS commits to helping them find their way back out of homelessness. For many individuals, these basic services are all they need to get back on track. Others need additional help overcoming barriers that prevent them from finding jobs or housing. To assist them, McHenry County PADS offers individual plans and a Wellness Recovery Program.
These lifesaving services don’t come cheap. Every year it costs on average $750,000 to run the program and the State of Illinois does not provide funding for homelessness prevention. Pioneer Center is able to keep the McHenry County PADS program running through the generosity of donors and several community fundraising events held each year.
Homelessness is not the end, it is the start of something new. Register today for SleepOut for Shelter and make a difference someone’s life.
— Pioneer Center