In 1987, people from the McHenry County faith community became concerned about homeless people they had observed living in cars, under bridges, viaducts and in wooded areas in the county during the cold winter months.  Several churches throughout McHenry County saw this area of need and offered to discuss with their respective congregations the possibility of their church becoming a homeless shelter one night per week from October 1 through April 30.

These congregations agreed to open their doors at 7:00 pm to provide individuals with dinner, a warm place to sleep and breakfast; sending them on their way by 7:00 am.  Blankets, sheets, mattresses, supplies for cooking and providing meals, volunteers and staff were all provided by the church.

Fast forward to today—in order to secure its sustainability, McHenry County PADS merged with Pioneer Center for Human Services, McHenry County’s provider of the broadest range of human services. The merger of these two organizations was the very first of its kind in McHenry County.

McHenry County PADS offers emergency and transitional housing coupled with support services in order to help homeless individuals work toward becoming self-sufficient. These support services enables individual to receive case management, job training, counseling and psychiatric services, as well as day-to-day services including access to showers, laundry facilities, transportation, computers and an address at which to receive mail. The program is specifically designed to address the root causes of homelessness and not just treat the symptoms.

All individuals must go through an intake process before receiving services as well as be a McHenry County resident or have 30-day residency status.


Talent at McHenry County PADS

Homelessness can happen to anyone. Meet John, 38, who is originally from the Philippines. As a child, he learned how to draw by copying pictures from a phone book. Eight years ago, he received his visa and moved to Algonquin to live with his sister and her family. As time passed, the family’s resources were exhausted and John found himself homeless. With nowhere to go he wandered the streets.

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Since 2009, PADS has seen a staggering increase in the people needing our services.

  • 48% overall increase in individuals served
  • 46% increase of mental illness diagnosis
  • 50% increase in physical disabilities
  • 58% increase in substance abuse
  • 56% increase in the number of children (as part of a family)
  • 15% increase in veterans served
  • 52% increase in adult women seeking assistance
  • 15% increase in homelessness among the Hispanic community

During our most recently completed fiscal year (July 1, 2011 – June 30, 2012) 343 individuals came to PADS seeking help.  In just this last year:

  • 17% increase in women seeking assistance
  • 26% increase in transitional youth
  • 27% increase in veterans needing services
  • 20% increase in homeless families (including a 20% increase in children) requiring shelter and supportive services