In 1990, Sr. Margaret Suerth conducted a survey
sent to area churches, social service agencies, hospitals, and township supervisors to determine whether overnight shelter was needed in the Illinois Valley. The response from all those questioned was that over a 12 month period there had been 800 requests for overnight shelter therefore concluding that there definately was a need.
In 1991 the Illinois Valley Public Action to Deliver Shelter (IV PADS) opened to offer shelter without discrimination. IV PADS serves five counties which includes LaSalle, Marshall, Bureau, Grundy, and Putnam County area with a population of over 50,000 and increasing every year. IV PADS operates two shelters in two communities which are 15 miles apart. The Ottawa site has 30 beds and is housed in a 3,300 square foot rented building. The Peru site has 24 beds in a 3,200 square foot building. There are separate sleeping quarters for men and women. Since 1991, IV PADS has served well over 150,000 meals to clients. Roughly, 90% of IV PADS clients are from the local communities. A dedicated staff of sixteen employees and about 1000 volunteers staff the shelters seven nights a week for 16 hours from September 1 to May 31. Meals, case management, and Life Skill classes are some of the important services that are available in the shelters. Shelter rules are given and read to each individual, and a security check is done each evening upon entrance. Working within our community, IV PADS makes many referrals to the social service and medical professionals in our network of providers. We successfully assist clients in finding jobs, housing, medical care, mental health assistance, and child care when needed.
Funding is a very important need. As the Board and Executive Director looked into the future during the year of 2005, they determined that the funding would have to increase in order for this agency to continue to exist. The shelter buildings had been used for three years, during the summer months when the program was closed, as a place for continual garage sales. This effort generated funds for the program. In 2006, the Board accepted an offer of space from Senator Gary Dahl to begin a resale store. This 700 square foot space opened August 2, 2006 and was used for three years with another rented building used for a donation center. In 2009, the Board approved a loan to build a 10,000 square foot building which opened on October 14, 2009. A donation was given to build a 4,000 square foot additon to the building and was completed in late 2012. This space increased the retail store and donation center. This store provides so many worthwhile services to the communities while providing income for our needs and employment.
The Board, Executive Director and employees are looking forward to more programs and services made available to those in crisis in our communities.