West Suburban PADS launches Street Outreach Program with mental health services provider Thresholds

West Suburban PADS launches Street Outreach Program with

mental health services provider Thresholds

Maywood, IL – West Suburban PADS today announced formation of a Street Outreach & Engagement Team in partnership with Chicago-based Thresholds, targeting individuals and families in Oak Park who have lost their housing and are living in places not meant for human habitation (e.g. in parks, forest preserves or cars).

The Alliance to End Homelessness in Suburban Cook County reported in its 2011 bi-annual “point-in-time homeless count” that 74 persons were living on the streets in and around Oak Park on the night of  – more than the number staying in PADS’ emergency shelter on the same night.

“Our goal is to expedite the transition from homelessness to stable, permanent housing,” says Lynda Schueler, executive director of West Suburban PADS, which operates four supportive housing programs. “We’re connecting with people who are not aware of -- or not willing to connect with -- the services available to them. By getting them off the street, linked to services and engaged in case management, we help them shift their focus from daily survival to the resolution of long-term needs.”

Mark Ishaug, Chief Executive Officer of Thresholds, a recovery services provider for persons with mental illness, says, “The outreach process can take weeks or even months of sustained relationship-building efforts. We connect with this unserved population by establishing a visible presence and contact routines at various times of day and evening, providing sack lunches and personal care items, and conducting assessments.”

Financial support for the outreach team’s daily expenditures (e.g. lunches) and contributions of transportation passes, bottled water and hand warmers are welcome, and can be dropped off at the Oak Park River Forest Area Walk-In Ministry, a social services organization that provides access to resources that help mitigate the factors that contribute to urgent financial strain and/or homelessness (http://www.walk-in-ministryoprf.org/index.html). Please mark donations for “West Suburban PADS.”

The Chicago Community Trust provided seed funding for West Suburban PADS’ outreach staff, which covers a 20-community service area; the Oak Park Community Mental Health Board funds Thresholds’ portion of the Oak Park team.

West Suburban PADS is the only agency whose sole purpose is to end homelessness in Cook County’s 20 near-west suburban communities. West Suburban PADS offers programming in five areas: shelter, housing, supportive services, employment readiness and prevention. For more information: www.westsuburbanpads.org, www.facebook.com/wspads and on Twitter @westsubPADS.

Established in 1959, Thresholds is the oldest and largest provider of recovery services for persons with severe mental illness in Illinois. Thresholds utilizes evidence-based practices and thoughtful supports to treat the whole person rather than just the disease. Thresholds offers 25 innovative programs at 70+ locations throughout Chicago, the adjacent suburbs, and McHenry and Kankakee Counties. Last year, Thresholds served 6,100 adults and youth, with 75% of services delivered out in the community. For more information: www.thresholds.org, www.facebook.com/thresholdschicago, and on Twitter @thresholdsctrs.

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