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.

Housing Forward in our Parish Community

Announcement from Father Carl – November 28, 2022

Dear Parishioners:

As you know, there have been on-going talks about the rectory building on the St. Catherine of Siena-St. Lucy campus, and having it be largely empty all winter. Looking to the future, our hope is that the building can become a ministry center, partnering with other agencies to offer needed services for residents of both Austin and Oak Park. The planning of this effort is in its early stages but inches closer to reality each day.

Housing Forward is one of those agencies that we have been in discussion with about forming a partnership. Their mission is to end homelessness in our area and help people transition to stable housing. For the last 30 years, they have worked with churches throughout the western suburbs to provide temporary shelter to those in need. They have helped people of all ages and ethnicities, single adults as well as families.

As I announced at the Masses this last weekend, Housing Forward has been given permission to use the rectory as its temporary shelter. The details for this arrangement are as follows:

  • The agreement is effective January 1, extending through April 30 – The Homeless Shelter at the St. Catherine-St. Lucy Rectory site which will be open from January 4 through April 30, 2023.
  • The space will be used to house 15 Housing Forward clients – ten existing clients and five new “emergency” clients.
  • Housing Forward will utilize some of the upstairs bedrooms on the west end of the rectory and the kitchen for volunteers to warm prepared meals.
  • The shelter will open at 7:00 pm; clients will be gone by 6:30 am the following morning.
  • Clients will enter and exit through the side door of the rectory. When leaving, clients will head toward Austin and not walk down the alleys near the gym or school.
  • A Housing Forward staff member, as well as a contingent of well-trained volunteers, will be on-site at all times.

Housing Forward is a well-run organization with a successful model for assisting the homeless. As Christians, we are called to help those in need. This is an opportunity to extend our space and our hospitality for those less fortunate than we are.

This also gives us the opportunity to give witness to our faith through the words of Jesus, “Whatsoever you did to the least, you did for me.” (Matthew 25:40) – Your prayers and volunteer support as needed are appreciated.

DONATIONS – We are also pleased to let you know we have received some significant monetary gifts to help us with this ministry. These gifts will help us pay for some of the work we need to do for the success of our efforts. If you wish to make a contribution, you can send a check to the Parish Center and write Shelter on the memo line OR you can make a donation online by using the button below:

Click to Donate Online

With you a Christian. For you a priest.

Fr. Carl Morello
Pastor of St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy and St. Giles Parish

Volunteer Sign-Up for Emergency Overnight Shelter

WE NEED ADDITIONAL VOLUNTEERS THAT SPEAK SPANISH – In addition to the need for volunteers to bring meals and work the overnight or morning shift at the emergency shelter run by Housing Forward in the St. Catherine – St. Lucy rectory, we also need volunteers who are proficient in Spanish to visit the shelter from 7-9:30 pm any night to help the staff communicate with some of the guests. We also need 2-3 people willing to drive 3-4 guests from the shelter at 6:30 am to Housing Forward’s offices in Maywood, just 4.5 miles from the shelter. If you can help in either of these capacities, please contact Dan Doody at dan@doody.com. Thank you.

Our Housing Forward / St. Catherine of Siena – St. Lucy Rectory Shelter, located at 38 N. Austin Boulevard in Oak Park is seeking site captains, volunteers and meal providers for our Emergency Overnight Shelter.

Volunteers are a key part of operating our Emergency Overnight Shelter for individuals and families experiencing homelessness. The volunteer opportunities for this shelter are:

  • Site Captain – Site captains recruit and manage a team of volunteers from their congregation to fill volunteer needs and/or meals for a night of shelter operation.
  • Evening Shelter Host – 6:30 pm until 10 pm – Volunteers help get set-up for the evening, greet the shelter guests as they arrive help them to set up their sleeping area, host dinner, and interact with clients until lights out.
  • Overnight Attendant – 10 pm until 5 am – Volunteers support staff in ensuring a safe experience for the shelter guests.
  • Morning Breakfast Host – 5 am until 7 am – Volunteers serve a light breakfast, help shelter guests exit and assist with light clean-up.
  • Meal Provider – Volunteers donate and deliver a hot dinner meal, and/or a continental breakfast and/or a sack to-go lunches for 15 people.

If you’re interested in volunteering at this emergency overnight shelter or providing a meal for shelter guests, please sign up below!

For additional information, please email Cherrel Jackson, Housing Forward Volunteer & Community Outreach Manager, at cjackson@housingforward.org.

Click to Sign Up to Volunteer

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.