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Homeless problems persist

LaSalle News Tribune

Tuesday, March 13, 2018  |  Article  |  

Homeless (51)

This winter was a busy one for Illinois Valley Public Action to Deliver Shelter staff and volunteers.

Over the past six months, 119 people have turned to the Peru shelter to have a roof over their head, which IV PADS executive director Carol Alcorn said is about three weeks ahead of last year’s pace. That total includes eight families and 22 children.

“All these individuals are experiencing an environment that offers nutritious food, a safe bed and lots of structured care and compassion,” Alcorn said.

In that same time, 150 people, including 16 families and 25 children, registered in the Ottawa shelter.

During a stretch of bitter cold this winter, Alcorn said the IV PADS shelters were kept open throughout the day for 18 days, and people IV PADS helped were provided with a hot meal and warmth.

“The winter weather also brings colds and flu with it,” Alcorn said. “Many clients have been ill this year.”

Alcorn said there have been 14 sick at one time in the shelter, and medications were donated to help ailing clients.

“The economy has improved but homelessness still exists,” Alcorn said. “We have found that many more individuals have found employment, moving on to self-sufficiency more quickly.”

So far, 48 clients have found jobs, and staff continues to tailor personal service plans for each client, Alcorn said.

“We have worked with clients to learn or accomplish life skills over 2,000 times already this season,” Alcorn said. Educational classes are provided for job seeking and money management. There are support groups for those who have special needs. There is assistance that includes transportation to medical appointments or service providers, purchasing prescriptions, and obtaining driver’s licenses, birth certificates and Social Security benefits. There is supervision for every hour we operate.”

Normally, Alcorn said restaurants have been a main source of employment opportunities, but this year there is a different trend.

“It seems this year we’re opening up more to the factory jobs,” Alcorn said.


An addition is in the works for the Peru shelter, Alcorn said.

It will include four new rooms dedicated to housing families at the Peru shelter.

“Homeless families are underserved in our communities,” Alcorn said.

She said Public Action to Deliver Shelter board of directors has contacted a contractor, developed a floor plan and will begin a campaign for the addition in a few weeks.

Still some need

Volunteers are still needed to provide and serve meals. There are openings several nights a week 7-11 p.m., Alcorn said. She directed those interested in volunteering to apply through ivpads.com. Training is provided.

Also, the Peru shelter could use donations of paper items, drink mixes, bleach, manila folders, sack lunch items and cleaning products.