At your service: PADS
McHenry County Public Action to Deliver Shelter was founded in 1998 as a faith-based ministry. It was officially incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1990.
A division of Pioneer Center for Human Services, the Woodstock-based facility offers emergency, transitional and preventative services focused on helping McHenry County’s men, women and children. PADS funds come from private donations from the community and organizations such as United Way. Fundraising events such as SleepOut for Shelter also contribute to the cause.
“Our goal is to reconnect homeless people to the community,” said Matt Kostecki, PADS coordinator.
PADS programs provide job and psychiatric services while putting homeless people in touch with recovery and mental health specialists.
From the beginning of October until the end of April, seven McHenry County area churches, in conjunction with PADS, provide emergency shelter and food for the homeless. More than 100 volunteers work at the church sites.
In 1998, PADS purchased a building which is now used as a transitional home.
The transitional home is a long-term program which houses up to 20 people at a given time. Here, people can focus attention around employment and housing goals, as well as deal with additional life issues.
“You name it, we do it,” said Kostecki.
Over the last two years, Kostecki said the community has seen an increase in homeless people in the area, particularly with young people ranging in age from 18 through mid-20s.
“Due to the economy and market, it’s been bad,” he said. “For the last two years it’s been hard [for people] to find placement.”
Homelessness impacts everyone – men, women, children, young and old. In 2011, McHenry County PADS assisted more than 359 people.
“We see a different face every year,” said Kostecki.
Emergency, year-round sleeping rooms also have been implemented and are available for a limited number of people.
The PADS day center provides counseling, classes, showers, a laundry facility, fully stocked kitchen, use of phones, lockers and computers.
“It’s a great program,” said Kostecki. “And having the support of the community is awesome.”
Due to the issue of lack of transportation for homeless people in the community, a transportation system has been set up for clients through a summer and winter schedule. Clients can be taken to and picked up from various locations such as train stations, the Pioneer Center and the public library through the use of two vans. The vans also will transport homeless and low-income people to work, work-related appointments, supportive services agencies and health-care providers.
There are many ways people interested in contributing to PADS can help. The organization is in need of volunteers, case workers, marketing team members and international staff.
For information, visit www.mchenrycountypads.com.