Rebranding a non-profit agency sometimes seems like the vanity project of a board chair or executive director. But there are times when it is a necessary effort to reflect the dynamic growth in mission that an agency has tackled and accomplished. Surely that is the case as West Suburban PADS becomes Housing Forward.

Nearly a quarter-century ago local activists saw the fundamental need for the homeless to have shelter and food, to bring them inside during the nine long months of harsh weather. It was pads on the floors of a rotating network of generous local churches. It was meals prepared by dedicated volunteers.

But over time, PADS’ efforts grew to help those in the shelters transition from housing crisis to more stable accommodations. Today just 10 percent of the budget at PADS funds the overnight shelters. The rest goes to job training, working with landlords, creating wide-ranging housing options.

The new name reflects both the broad mission and the abiding optimism that this agency brings to the lives of people ready to lift themselves up and move themselves forward.

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