In 1988, people from the McHenry County faith community became concerned about homeless people they had observed living in cars, under bridges, viaducts and in wooded areas in the county during the cold winter months.

These congregations agreed to open their doors at 7:00 pm to provide individuals with dinner, a warm place to sleep and breakfast; sending them on their way by 7:00 am. Blankets, sheets, mattresses, supplies for cooking and providing meals, volunteers and staff all provided by the church.

In order to secure its sustainability, 12 years ago McHenry County PADS merged with Pioneer Center for Human Services, McHenry County’s provider of the broadest range of human services. The merger of these two organizations was the very first of its kind in McHenry County.

The Day Center is the first and only year-round, daytime facility in McHenry County for all sub-populations of individuals experiencing homelessness. Pioneer Center has since transformed homeless services in our community from partnering with local church sites for shelter to other services for collaboration to best serve each individual that walks through our shelter. The priority of well-being, safety and security for each individual is held to a high standard on how we operate our services.

McHenry County PADS offers emergency shelter coupled with support services in order to help individuals experiencing homelessness work toward becoming self-sufficient. These support services enable individuals to receive crisis intervention, case management, linkage to community resources and life skills training, as well as day-to-day services including access to showers, laundry facilities, transportation, computers and an address at which to receive mail.

Lack of reliable transportation is often a barrier to people working their way out of homelessness. McHenry County PADS provides transportation assistance to those receiving PADS Services offering rides to the Day Center, emergency shelter sites, job interviews, social service agencies, medical appointments and more. Transportation schedules are provided after intake.

All individuals must go through an intake process before receiving services as well as being a McHenry County resident. The pre-intake process includes admission screening to ensure the safety of all individuals being served.

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