PADS Update from Nicole Harris

Anne Munley Announcements

Dear NSMC,
Cathy O’Brien, our PADS liaison at the Libertyville Methodist Church, shared this update from Nicole Harris, Shelter Operations Manager of PADS Lake County. I am sharing it with you so that you might know that our donations of funds and food have been greatly appreciated, and so that you might know what kinds of challenges lie ahead for the goals of PADS as the future unfolds and keep them in your prayer. Please note: there will continue to be food needs for those families and folks at risk sheltering in hotels throughout the summer. The list is towards the end of Nicole’s update.

Good evening leadership team!

I can’t believe that we’ve made it to Memorial Day. It doesn’t feel like it- both weather wise and with the fact that we’re still all stuck inside. I hope that this email finds you all healthy and safe. Thank you for those of you who joined us last night on Zoom to talk a little bit about PADS moving forward both in the summer and into the fall season.

I started last night and I’d like to start again tonight with a resounding THANK YOU to each and every one of you. The season has “ended” and you all are still coordinating drives, bringing in donations, and thinking of the clients that you serve in the winter season. PADS is so blessed to have such a dedicated leadership team and I’m so thankful to work with all of you as well. I don’t have exact numbers but we have had such an outpouring of gift cards and food donations and I can not say thank you enough.

Now on to the more nitty-gritty items, what does the summer and the fall look like for PADS? At this moment, shelter in place is still set to end on June 1st. We are looking to keep everyone who is medically fragile, over 60, and families in hotels as long as possible. This could mean well into the fall. We know that COVID-19 will not disappear over night and are hoping to keep those who need individual accommodations in hotels as long as we possibly can. We will also plan to continue to work with those who are actively working on a housing plan with their case manager in hotels as well. It was asked last night how many have been housed during shelter-in-place and I believe that we have been able to celebrate about 10 people being housed in new apartments. I’m sure that there are more that we do not know about as this population, as you all know, is transient and sometimes people will find alternate housing and we will not hear about it.

As of tonight, we have about 160 people in hotels. We have seen an increase in the number of people that we are serving and this is more than we’ve ever seen at one time. We are able to capture more people at one time, however, and work with them longer term so this is one plus about having people in hotels. Our goal is to serve those who need the hotels the most for as long as we possibly can, while understanding that those who are most at risk could be in hotels for most of the remainder of the year.

I’m asking everyone to start thinking about the fall season. I know you’re all taking a well deserved break but unfortunately, the fall will look a little different this year. Please start thinking about what your comfort level is to open- what is your church’s comfort level? Realistically, mats need to start being about 6 feet apart, this is going to drastically reduce capacity at most (if not all) sites. What type of capacity could you have if you have to put mats 6 feet apart? Clients will need to be sleeping head to toe, eating dinner 6 feet apart, and PADS may not be able to provide the level of transportation that we have in the past. One of the concerns brought up last night was the “groups of 10” rule. If you’re running a site there will be more than 10 people there. Because our services fall under and essential service, you would be exempt from the 10 person gathering rule if it does continue into the fall. I understand that some volunteers may not be comfortable with coming back either and we heard of several sites who have already been informed of volunteers who will not be returning for the fall.

Lastly, please consult with your church elders to determine if it is realistic for your site to even open up on October 1st. If it is not, please reach out to me as soon as possible so that we can start to game plan for the future.

I’m giving you a few links so that you can look at what the CDC is recommending currently for congregate homeless shelters – again, these are their current recommendations and this could change.

These do give a lot of the same information but they’re all good articles for guidance. If anyone has any questions, please let me know.

Lastly, we are still providing boxes on a weekly basis to those who are in our hotels. We are delivering anywhere from 15-60 on any given weekday and was wondering if anyone was interested in “adopting” a hotel? These opportunities would be to either come and volunteer at our day center to make boxes or to make boxes and bring them in or deliver them to the hotels. Each box contains food for one person for about three days.

This would be:

1 jar Peanut butter

Three packs of crackers

5 granola bars

3-4 canned goods (chili, chef Boyardee, Dinty Moore meals, Chunky soups)

2 poptarts

2 packs oatmeal

2 cups applesauce/fruit cups

4-5 small bags chips or one large bag

2-3 small packages of cookies

2 mac and cheese cups

3 bottles of water

This would be the “ideal” box and can be modified if need be. This is what we have been providing based on what we are seeing come in with donations.

Another volunteer opportunity is to go grocery shopping for PADS, we would provide you with gift cards that have come in as donations, and I would send you with a list to the grocery store. This opportunity is for those who are not a high-risk category please.

And finally, we are still in need of donations of $10 McDonalds gift cards, any of the food I’ve listed above and Tide Pods as we are giving those out with our weekly drop offs as well.

I know this email was a lot of doom and gloom. I hope you all have some time to relax and unwind this Memorial Day weekend. Sadly, it’s going to be yet another rainy weekend but maybe we’ll get some sun here and there.

Please let me know if you have any questions, as always. And thank you all for your continued dedication.