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Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A Place to Call Home: DuPage PADS on a Mission to End Homelessness

 

In our Giving Season blog series highlighting nonprofits across the U.S., today we introduce you to DuPage PADS, an 4-Star-rated nonprofit on Charity Navigator with a "Give With Confidence" designation that has also earned Encompass beacons for Impact & Results, Leadership & Adaptability, and Culture & Community*. 

*Encompass ratings are independent of and have no impact on Star ratings. To learn more, visit the Encompass FAQ.

This past week, I spent some time in DuPagePads’ client resource room—a room where we put together bags of toiletries, laundry soap, juice boxes and other things our clients need—a place where they can stop by on an as-needed basis and “shop.” It’s fun, not just because it’s a place enveloped in kindness, but because it gives them the dignity of choice. If you’ve been living without a home or a kitchen of your own, getting to pick which kind of juice you want—grape or apple—is a really nice feeling.

A mother came in with 3 little girls—ages 2, 4 and 6. The two preschoolers grabbed an apple and sat under a table in the room, and I told them it was their fort. They thought it was hilarious. They didn’t have a single warm piece of clothing as we entered into the fall, so I and the volunteers in the room got to work on finding coats for them. The youngest loves Minnie Mouse, and we were able to find her a Disney coat among the donated winter clothing in the room. I promised their mother that I’d find them some more fall clothes—size 2T, 4T, and 5T. This mom and her little girls left to go back to their warm, safe room with their apples, a bag of food and toiletries for the week, smiles on their faces…and most importantly HOPE.

For 36 years, DuPagePads has been a source of hope for families like this one who are experiencing homelessness.

The mission of DuPagePads is to end homelessness in DuPage County, Illinois. Our year-round programs feed and shelter individuals and families who are homeless, and connect them to case management and other services that can address the underlying cause of their homelessness.

We work to end homelessness through two major branches of service: Permanent Supportive Housing for people coming out of homelessness, and Interim Housing for people who are unsheltered and need an immediate, safe place to sleep. Both programs have remained open throughout the COVID-19 pandemic by using hotel-based shelter, and developing strict health and safety practices.  

Here’s how hotel-based shelter works: Clients receiving emergency shelter are connected to a case manager from our Client Service Center. The case manager assists with developing a rehousing plan to help clients leave the emergency shelter to permanent housing; they also provide additional support to help clients access employment, financial resources, healthcare, and more. While utilizing shelter, clients also have access to meals and other basic necessities including showers, toiletries, mail service, and more. 

Last year, through all of our programs, we served 1,145 individuals—265 of whom were children. Our mission at DuPagePads is to end homelessness in DuPage County, and our goal each year is to help individuals and families recognize their dream of having a safe home of their own.

All of us at DuPagePads are incredibly proud to have a 4-Star Charity Navigator rating. It provides a way for us to assure our donors that we are using their resources wisely, and gives us the opportunity to be transparent to our community. Our Charity Navigator rating is something we share in grant applications, as well as our annual impact statement.

We’re so excited to receive our Charity Navigator rating in time for the holidays! This year’s giving season is so incredibly important for our services. Clients are coming to our doors in higher numbers than ever before. Pre-pandemic, in the height of winter need, we were serving 150 people per night. Currently, we are providing a safe place to sleep for 250 people per night. That’s 100 more people in just two years. And about one-third of them are children. Our team at DuPagePads continues to live the value that everyone should have a safe place to call home—and that no child should have to sleep in a car—through our work. We are so grateful to our donors and volunteers for standing with us to make this possible.


Authored by April Redzic, President & CEO, DuPage PADS, an organization championing the journey to end homelessness for 36 years for thousands in DuPage County, Illinois. Learn more about their programs and services at www.dupagepads.org and support their work!

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