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In 1992, a group of congregations joined forces to provide emergency shelter services for those experiencing homelessness in their communities. It was just the beginning...

Since then, our mission has evolved from simply responding to the symptoms of homelessness to providing a wide range of permanent solutions to prevent the occurrence or reoccurrence of homelessness.

Today, we are a recognized service leader in suburban Cook County offering a coordinated response that allows people experiencing a housing crisis to quickly resolve their situation. We offer comprehensive, wrap-around support from the onset of a financial or housing crisis to its resolution, preventing homelessness whenever possible, and providing permanent, stable housing for the most vulnerable members of our community.

Each year, we serve more than 2,000 men, women, and families with individualized services focused on resolving homelessness and housing crises quickly and permanently. Our longer-term housing options, including Rapid Re-Housing, Permanent Supportive Housing, and our Rental Housing Support Program serve more than 500 individuals annually. We also offer ongoing case management, Housing Navigation and pre-tenancy services, an employment readiness program, Street Outreach, and a Homeless Prevention program that offers Financial Assistance, Diversion, and stabilization services.

Tri-Village PADS was founded in response to the growing problem of homelessness in Oak Park, River Forest and Forest Park. Initially run entirely by volunteers, PADS opened the overnight Emergency Shelter program at seven rotating sites, providing food and shelter to 244 homeless individuals from the community.

The Medical Clinic begins, in partnership with Family Practice at West Suburban Hospital, to provide on-site medical services on Monday evenings at the Emergency Shelter. 

Support Center opens to help clients achieve self-sufficiency by providing access to basic self-care services necessary for daily living, as well as health and case management services.

The Transitional Housing program, with four apartment units in Oak Park, launches for homeless individuals and families who are employed. 

The Transitional Housing program expands from four to 17 apartment units. 

  • Homeless Prevention program begins, offering one-time rent, mortgage or utility assistance to those at risk of homelessness.
  • Bilingual Information and Referral line is established.

  • Project WIN is created, offering intensive and specialized case management services to address medical, mental health and substance abuse conditions.
  • Access Community Health Network and Procare become formal partners. 

Loyola University Health Systems replaces West Suburban Hospital as the Monday evening Medical Clinic partner. 

  • Project WISH launches, in partnership with South Suburban PADS, the only transitional housing program, at the time, in suburban Cook County dedicated to housing single adults and preference for military veterans.
  • The Legal Clinic begins, in partnership with Chicago Volunteer Legal Services, once a month in the shelter. 

The Emergency Shelter expands from nine to 10 rotating shelter sites in Oak Park, Forest Park, Berwyn and Franklin Park. 

  • WCHIP, a multi-agency collaboration to provide 30 units of scattered-site permanent supportive housing targeting the mentally ill, begins.
  • The partnering agencies are West Suburban PADS, Pillars, Thresholds, Thrive Counseling Center and Vital Bridges/Heartland Alliance. 

  • West Suburban PADS is the recipient of the United Way's Outstanding Agency Partner Award.
  • The agency moves to St. Eulalia's Parish House in Maywood to expand the space of the Support Center. 

  • The ground-level space of St. Eulalia’s Parish House is renovated with private funding, creating a new 2,500 square foot space for the day-time, year-round Support Center. 
  • Career Passport launches to help clients identify and resolve their long-term barriers to retained employment and career advancement. 
  • The agency’s AmeriCorps program is launched, allowing for increased programming and capacity. 

 The Outreach & Engagement program is launched, with two full-time specialists working on-site in the Emergency Shelter seven nights a week. Their role is to assertively outreach persons identified as chronically homeless and connect them with supportive services that enable pursuit of a housing plan. During the 2010-2011 shelter season, these efforts result in 36% of chronically homeless shelter clients moving into permanent supportive housing. 

  • In partnership with the West Cook YMCA, the Interim Housing program is created to provide a bridge between the Emergency Shelter and stable housing for male clients participating in the Career Passport program, or for those with an income. 
  • Permanent supportive housing expands by five units with the launch of the WCHANCE program, for persons with physical or mental health disabilities or addiction issues, via the WCHIP collaborative.

  • Outreach & Engagement expands to include Street Outreach services targeting unsheltered "non-service seekers" in Oak Park, Berwyn and Cicero. 
  • Partnership with Loyola University Health Systems continues to expand by teaming with the Graduate Student Nurses Association to extend the reach of Project WIN resources while giving the nurses valuable field experience on the Outreach & Engagement team. 

  • Open Door Housing launches - a 65-unit scattered site housing program to transition disabled, homeless individuals and families into stable, permanent supportive housing.
  • Shelter Diversion services begin, designed to assess whether shelter is the best option for addressing the household's housing crisis, and to direct the client to the most appropriate resource to prevent homelessness. 

  • Through the first full year of Open Door Housing, 51 individuals end their homelessness by moving into permanent supportive housing units. 
  • Emergency Shelter services are increased, with shelter available 50 weeks per year.
  • From 2009 to the end of 2014, chronic homelessness in the Emergency Shelter is reduced by 88%, increasing the shelter's capacity to serve those in immediate housing crisis.

  • West Suburban PADS becomes Housing Forward to better convey the comprehensive nature of its solution to homelessness. Emergency Services is renamed the PADS Shelter program.
  • Prevail merges into Housing Forward, resulting in combined Emergency Assistance and Employment Readiness programs. The merge strengthens the support system for individuals and families who are experiencing financial and housing crises.

  • Housing Forward assumes fiscal responsibility for 71 units of supportive housing in partnership with Thresholds, Thrive, Heartland Alliance and South Suburban PADS.
  • Housing Forward is chosen to lead Coordinated Entry, a system to improve and prioritize those needing housing services for all of suburban Cook County. 

  • Housing Forward celebrates 25 years of transitioning individuals from housing crisis to housing stability.
  • Housing Forward leads Coordinated Entry, renamed "Entry Point", with eight partner agencies across suburban Cook County to prioritize and match housing resources with those most vulnerable.
  • New Oak Park office opens to help clients achieve financial and housing stability by providing Prevail Emergency Assistance to address an immediate crisis regarding housing or utilities and Employment Readiness programs to prepare individuals for a successful, sustained re-entry into the workplace. The Oak Park office is a designated Walk-In Center for Entry Point, to ease access to housing through a standardized referral process.
  • Housing Forward Headquarters and Support Center in Maywood experienced a fire contained to the attic of the building. Fortunately, the building was unoccupied and no one was injured.
  • Housing Forward is awarded funding by HUD for WIN Supportive Housing II that brings together three homeless and housing providers across suburban Cook County and the Cook County Health and Hospitals System (CCHHS) to form a health and housing partnership to permanently house 33 single adults and family households. The project targets frequent utilizers of medical care services impacted by long-term homelessness. 

  • Housing Forward announces a call-to-action in response to an increased demand for emergency shelter and adds a secondary Sunday shelter site at St. Christopher's in Oak Park.
  • In partnership with the Cook County HealHth and Hospitals System (CCHHS), Housing Forward is awarded $1.174M over three years from the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) for a Rental Housing Support Program (RHS) that promotes permanent housing through long-term rent subsidies.  The subsidies will end homelessness for 30 households.

Housing Forward unveiled Sojourner House, the first interim housing and medical respite program of its kind in suburban Cook County. Key program partners were MacNeal Hospital/Loyola Medicine, Oak Park Housing Authority, Oak Park Residence Corporation, Oak Park Township and Oak Park Homelessness Coalition. In its first year, 39 individuals called Sojourner House home. Of those, 11 were medical respite clients and 26 were members of the seven families with young children able to stay intact while awaiting housing placements. 82% of Sojourner House residents moved into permanent housing.