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The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

The Student News Site of Lake Forest High School

The Forest Scout

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The Growth of Local Homeless Shelter PADS

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Volunteers working with PADS (Courtesy of PADS)

PADS: Providing Advocacy, Dignity, and Shelter. Located in Waukegan and founded in 1972, this non-profit is dedicated to helping the homeless by providing shelter, food, and other resources for those who can’t access them. PADS’ main goal is to help people. And this organization needs all the support they can get. 

As a growing organization, PADS has faced many ups and downs. Until the pandemic, PADS offered 24/7 shelter, food, and other necessities to the homeless.When lockdown was enforced, the organization was forced to close their shelter, and began offering shelter in hotels for those who needed it. 

When the lockdown was lifted, PADS continued to offer shelter in hotels. 

“The hotel shelter model removed a lot of uncertainty from the lives of those utilizing the service,” Eric Foote PADS Director of Finance and Operations said. 

With the permanancy of a hotel room, PADS clients consistently have a roof over their heads. 

“Last month alone we helped 52 individuals find a place to stay,” Foote said. 

While PADS has many success stories, they still face challenges on a daily basis. With over 300 people using their services everyday, large amounts of shelf-stable food are needed to sustain them. PADS is constantly looking for donations and volunteers to help them access the necessary large amounts of food.  

PADS volunteers (Courtesy of PADS)

PADS has the opportunity to work with many different organizations in their community, such as Mother’s Trust, Community Action Partners, Catholic Charities, St. Vincent De Paul, Salvation Army, and Townships. The Lake County Health Department and Rosalind Franklin University Health Systems also work with PADS to provide healthcare for their clients. 

“Homelessness is a community issue and PADS looks to the community to help solve the problem,” Foote said.  

This upcoming winter, PADS is focusing solely on hotel shelter, and while this is beneficial for those in need, it has also caused an increase in cost for PADS. 

“People generally stay for about 90 days and the staff resources and cost to manage the hotels, food, transportation, and other needs is great,” Foote said. 

In the future, PADS hopes to move away from hotel shelter and open a ‘fixed site’ shelter for the homeless. This will not only benefit PADS, but also those who rely on the amenities the organization provides. 

To complete this transition, PADS is turning to the community and volunteers for support. 

“We will require the community to get behind this effort and fight the “NIMBY” (Not In My BackYard) effect that happens when projects like shelters are proposed,” Foote said. “Everyone thinks it’s a good idea, just not in my backyard. In the meantime, we’ll keep providing the best care possible for the people we serve.” 

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Annie Davis
Annie Davis, Staff Writer
Annie Davis is a senior at Lake Forest High School and is excited to be a first-year writer for The Forest Scout! She is involved in numerous clubs such as Big 2 Little, Scout Buddies, and Special Olympics. Outside of school you’ll find Annie hanging out with friends, playing her guitar, or reading a good book.
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