PERU – Illinois Valley PADS (IV PADS) has started season 29 in its care of the local homeless in LaSalle, Bureau and Putnam counties. The PADS shelters in Peru and Ottawa opened their doors on Aug. 15 with extended hours. PADS shelters are normally open from 5 p.m. to 9 a.m. daily, but during the COVID outbreak, the shelters are remaining open 24 hours.
Six weeks into its 29th season, Peru PADS reported being quite busy with 32 clients already being helped. In Ottawa, one month after opening, staff had already served 42 individuals, six of which were children, and they reported housing between 20 and 25 people at the shelter each night.
IV PADS was founded by Sister Margaret Suerth in 1991. She began the organization’s compassionate journey to help the homeless by placing mattress pads on the floors of local churches and volunteers served food donated by local hospitals. Each night the pads were packed up and moved to new locations.
From those humble beginnings, IV PADS now operates two shelters where homeless individuals who are at least 18 years of age, as well as families, are offered a secure place to stay each night along with three meals a day, laundry and shower facilities and various other services.
PADS’ comprehensive programs include individualized case management with goal-setting and a plan of action; onsite classes in job skills, computer skills, budgeting and parenting; a support group and Bible study; occasional transportation to appointments (not daily); and assistance with various needs such as applying for other social services, assistance with prescriptions, and referrals to medical and mental health professionals.
Statistically, from Aug. 15, 2019 through July 31, 2020, PADS reported serving 349 individuals, of which 84 were children. They served 34,136 meals and assisted 60 individuals in finding new jobs. A homeless person slept in a PADS bed 14,035 times during the past season.
Additional services such as classes, life skills and case management were also provided to clients during the past season. Reflections classes were attended 388 times, transportation to medical or legal appointments was provided 470 times, staff worked on life skills to help clients achieve self-sufficiency 9,347 times, 2,121 clothing items were provided, 1,667 household items (furniture, small appliances, towels and other essentials) were provided as clients moved to new homes, and 104 new homes were found.
Other helpful assistance given to clients included 83 prescriptions filled, four eyeglasses provided, 14 government issued cell phones, 30 birth certificates obtained and 16 Social Security cards.
PADS also works closely with many other local organizations by making referrals. These included 305 housing referrals, 30 for mental health, 20 for substance abuse and 102 for health and dental.
With an expansion project completed last year in Peru, that shelter now accommodates up to 66 individuals and the Ottawa shelter can house up to 51. Both locations have a dormitory style facility with separate areas for men and women within the building. They also offer family rooms so family units may remain together while at the shelter. Children must remain under the care of a parent/guardian; child care services are not provided.
Lily Pads Resale
For 15 years, Lily Pads Resale Boutique of Peru has provided significant financial support to shelter operations, along with furnishings and household items for clients moving out of homelessness. Lily Pads Too in Ottawa was added to meet the increased growth and needs of the homeless population. All proceeds from the resale shops benefit the shelters including some donations being given directly to homeless clients.
The Lily Pads donation center in Peru has now resumed full-time hours, Monday through Saturday from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (same as the store hours). Donations of gently used household items, decor, shoes, jewelry, clothing etc. may be brought to the donation center any time during those hours. A list of accepted and non-accepted items is posted at http://ivpads.com/lily-pads-donations/
For information about volunteering or donating to IV PADS, please visit its website at www.ivpads.com. The Peru shelter is located at 1320 Menards Drive, Peru; phone (815) 224-3047.