PADS – a Maywood-based homeless help organization that serves Oak Park and several other communities – held an open house last week to show off its expanded spaces, which are located at 1851 S. 9th Ave. in Maywood.

The basement was just renovated, with the finishing touches made last week. The expansion allows PADS to provide a new program that helps homeless individuals to get and keep jobs.

The open house was part of National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, which went from Nov. 15-21, which is meant to raise awareness about homelessness and the lack of affordable housing, says Lynda Schueler, executive director for PADS.

PADS also made a presentation to students at Julian Junior High School last Friday to help raise awareness about homelessness.

The organization recently singed an agreement with the Village of Oak Park for its new homeless prevention rapid rehousing program, which will allow it to provide homelessness preventions services for 10 households each year and then an added 16 families through the rapid rehousing program, for people who recently became homeless.

The new program is part of the $784,000 in federal stimulus dollars that PADS received through the Village of Oak Park in September.

PADS also started its new Career Passport program on Monday, Nov. 23. It offers career counseling for people trying to transition out of homelessness. The program includes job readiness classes, employment training, job placement, and services to help retain jobs

Last year, PADS served 850 people through its range of services-which include emergency shelter, daytime supportive services, homeless prevention and housing programs.

-Marty Stempniak

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