Housing Forward – Parish Shelter – Donate! – Volunteer!


Housing Forward (PADS) – Housing Forward has provided many services in addition to its emergency shelter program. In 2015, to better reflect their work and their mission of solving homelessness, West Suburban PADS changed its name to Housing Forward. These impressive 2015 numbers (rounded) illustrate the impact of Housing Forward as it works diligently to solve homelessness.

  • 800 individuals received PREVENTION assistance ending a crisis before they became homeless.
  • 500 individuals received 12,000 nights of SHELTER.

Volunteers can assist in a number of projects throughout the year for Housing Forward, from weekly overnight shelters around the Oak Park area via PADS, to summer transitional programs held at our parish, to collection of household items for the “House to Home Kits” program.

Since 2023, the former St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy Rectory (located at 38 N. Austin Boulevard in Oak Park, IL 60302) has been leased by Housing Forward and became what is known now as SC-SL Rectory Shelter under the umbrella of our Oak Park Social Ministry Center – The Neighbodghood Bridge.

Housing Forward Website

Housing Forward in our Parish Community – SCSL Rectory Shelter – Donations and Volunteers are Needed!

UPDATE AS OF APRIL 30, 2023 – We are happy to announce that we have signed a year lease with Housing Forward that will allow the shelter to remain open for the coming year until April 2024. We are building a good partnership with them as they work with those in need, many who desire to grow out of their challenging situations. Once again, this space is being utilized for good and Housing Forward is helping with utilities and a modest income to assist with other expenses. We hope you can agree, what a beautiful way to utilize this valuable space at this time.

The following short video features Housing Forward’s shelter manager, Dannette Kennedy-Salaam, providing a brief guided tour of the shelter that you helped to create:

MEAL DONATIONS – The Homeless Shelter has experienced an all-time low in meal donations for the homeless and Housing Forward has not received sufficient donations of meals. It’s not typical to have a shelter all round and when one thinks of a shelter one thinks more of the dark, cold winter months. Now that the shelter is year-round, the guests at the shelter desperately need your help not only with volunteering but also with donations for meals.

MONETARY DONATIONS – As of April 2023, the shelter has gone well in large part due to the support of many volunteers who helped with meals and other needed essentials. The monetary donations received were very helpful as well. While Housing Forward did help defray the cost of our utility bills, we incurred other expenses that have amounted to approximately $35,000. We have been able to fund all but about $5,000 of those expenses. If you would like to help us cover this small deficit, please send a gift to the office with “Shelter donation” marked on the envelope OR you can make a donation online by using the button below. Any donation will be welcomed!

Click to Donate Online

VOLUNTEERS – An extraordinary volunteer effort is still required to provide the service and meals the guests deserve. Volunteers are needed to:

  • Meal preparation volunteers:
    • Prepare and deliver a home-cooked dinner for up to 15 guests on a particular night of the month.
    • Provide the food for a cold breakfast (fruit, juice, milk, dry cereal, bagels, etc.) for the 15 guests one day a month.
    • Provide 15 sack lunches (sandwich, fruit, treat, and beverage) one day a month.
  • Volunteer to help with dinner and after-dinner one night a month.
  • Volunteer for the overnight shift one night a month.
  • Volunteer for the morning shift to serve breakfast, hand out sack lunches, and help the guests with daily cleaning of the facility.

For more information about or to volunteer for one or more of these tasks, please sign up below or contact Housing Forward’s volunteer coordinator, Cherrell Jackson, directly at cjackson@housingforward.org.

Click to Sign Up to Volunteer

While words cannot fully express our gratitude for your personal contributions to making this happen, we go forward with confidence knowing what tremendous support we have from our community for serving the underserved.

In gratitude,
Fr. Carl Morello

Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish

Oak Park Homelessness Coalition Website

Site Captain Needed for St. Giles Crew!

St. Giles and St. Giles Family Mass has been extremely dedicated and generous to Housing Forward and its mission “to transition individuals and families from housing crisis to housing stability.” This is particularly evidenced by the St. Giles crews that staff the PADS emergency shelters on the first and second Mondays of each month. Impressively, St. Giles volunteers have staffed shelter nights since the founding of PADS over 25 years ago.

For many years, I have had the privilege of being the Site Captain for the First Monday crew, but I am going to hang up my Site Captain hat and therefore, a replacement is needed from the St. Giles community. Site Captain responsibilities mainly include organizing the volunteer crew and overseeing the running of the shelter for the first shift which is from 6-10 pm on the first Mondays of each month from October through May.

Our current crew is incredibly dedicated, averaging over 12 years of service to PADS and the homeless community. Their years of experience certainly simplify the job of Site Captain. I know their service has made, and will continue to make, a difference for the sixty people who find shelter, a homemade dinner, and plenty of warm smiles greeting them as they enter the shelter on First Mondays. Housing Forward, the guests, and I are beyond grateful for all they do…

Lainie Barnett, Betsy, Mark, Will, Norman and Edie Carroll, Lottie Catambrone, Janet Coffey, Laura Gerace, Patty Holden Nelson, Mary Joss, Bill Keefe, Mark and Nate Laboe, Jack and Mimi Lane, John Leroux, Jeanette Madock, Caitlin Mooney, Jordan Murphy, Mark and Patrice Roche, Bill Schroeder, Tom Shallenberger, Tim Sterrett, and Rich Toll.

Please contact Maureen Hunter at 708-250-0686 or at Maureen.hunter@comcast.net if interested in volunteering as Site Captain for the St. Giles crew.