Every night there can be more than 300 homeless people sleeping in either Hesed House’s shelter, or at one of DuPage PADS’s overnight sites. The organizations serve the local homeless population by providing housing or shelter and supportive services that help end the cycle of homelessness. But both organizations will receive less money from the state this year, which means they have to cut services.
“You can scale back the services that try to get people back on their feet: the case management, the job training, the mental health, the substance abuse counseling, all those things that put people back in the homes,” said Ryan Dowd, Executive Director of Hesed House. “It may mean they’re going to be homeless longer. They’re going to spend more time here because they’re not going to have the support they need to get back on their feet again.”
Hesed House and DuPage PADS will receive 52% less funding this year. While Hesed House is cutting services, DuPage PADS plans to skip the yearly replacement of pads for this year. They’re also hoping volunteers can staff their overnight facilities and help pay for transportation costs for clients, because the state’s cuts mean the organization no longer can.
“I don’t believe that those cuts should be on the backs of those services that are so sorely needed as a result of other economic decisions that are being made,” said Carol Simler, Executive Director of DuPage PADS.
NCO Youth and Family Services is having a different kind of problem. Their Downer’s Grove apartment lease for their Transitional Housing Program for homeless young adults isn’t being renewed.
“We have to find a complex that will house them, so it’s finding basically six empty apartments in a complex and that’s really hard to do,” said Ron Hume, Executive Director of NCO Youth & Family Services. “We have everybody looking for us and it’s very difficult. We’re not having any luck.”
NCO staff isn’t sure why their lease wasn’t renewed, but they’re looking for other apartments to house the program and trying to find a place to move before their deadline is up.
“We get to the end of August and haven’t found anything, we’ll have to put them up in hotels,” said Hume. “We are not going to make our homeless kids homeless.”
They’re also looking at houses, which could keep the program going but wouldn’t teach the independence that an apartment would.
Representatives from DuPage PADS, Hesed House, and NCO Youth & Family Services say they will be looking to the community for additional support to fill their budget gaps.
For more information on any of the organizations, visit their website:
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