Got time? Got talent? Looking for volunteer opportunities? In search of ways your family can volunteer together? Want to help clients practice job interviews or write a resume? To learn more about volunteering visit the "Getting Started" sidebar or click the "Become a Volunteer" bar below.

For ways to immediately help, the interactive calendar below offers slots for the various volunteer opportunities:

For more information, please reach out to Housing Forward at or 708.338.1724 ext. 220 or Sarah Catalano, Volunteer Coordinator at We look forward to serving with you!


PADS Shelter (currently not operating)

Last year, 14,956 nights of shelter were provided through the shelter program. We simply could not have offered this assistance without our congregational partners and committed volunteers. 

The 2019-2020 PADS Shelter program began on September 16, 2019 and was meant to continue through May 14, 2020, but the COVID-19 crisis changed that. Under normal circumstances, our shelter program provides overnight shelter and three daily meals, seven days a week, at 11 rotating sites in Berwyn, Forest Park, and Oak Park. Four secondary sites are designated for families. The program is a gateway for a wide array of supportive services aimed at reducing the length of homelessness for our overnight clients and helping them work toward the ultimate goal of achieving and sustaining housing stability. Volunteers help set up and break down the shelter, prepare meals, and generally supervise the space to ensure a safe environment. 

On March 17th in order to follow local and CDC Health Guidelines, we consolidated all services to Oak Park Temple and shifted to a 24/7 shelter model. On March 23th we transitioned all clients to individual accomodations at area motels, hotels and apartments. We began with 60 clients and the numbers we have served is now over 200. Housing Forward staff is on-site and makes sure clients receive meals and services. Local caterers help provide dinners and volunteers pack sack breakfasts and lunches to be delivered by staff.

Until further notice, we will not need our usual PADS Volunteers but additional opportunities at our new Interim Housing Program are available through the interactive calendar above. 

During normal operations, those who serve as site captains and shift volunteers are required to attend a mandatory orientation session before beginning to volunteer. Those who provide meals are acceptions. Sessions are usually held twice a month. Additional site-specific training is also offered. If you have not attended a training, please reach out to Housing Forward at or 708.338.1724 ext. 220.

Support Center (currently not operating)

When our Support Center re-opens, following safety guidelines, it will be available Monday through Friday during business hours. In the Support Center, clients address basic care needs such as showers and laundry, receive mail, and search for jobs. If you are interested in getting involved in the Support Center, or feel that you have a unique talent that would be well suited for this environment, please follow the instructions on "Getting Started" in the sidebar.

Volunteers are generally needed once or twice a week to help clients access the services of the Support Center.

Employment Readiness

Our Employment Readiness program includes Career Passport, an intensive, group-based course which addresses clients' barriers to employment. We also offer one-on-one job counseling and employment location services to clients. There are numerous skill-based volunteer opportunities in this program, including resume writing, mock interviews, etc. If you are interested in getting involved with this program, please follow the instructions on "Getting Started" in the sidebar.

Emergency Assistance

Our Emergency Assistance and Referrals Program provides referrals and modest emergency financial assistance for food, housing, utilities and transportation to individuals and families at urgent risk. Our goal is to address the immediate crisis so the individual or family can work on additional steps on the path toward stability. The program's compassionate volunteers listen to each person’s individual situation and, working together with the client, use solutions-based counseling to develop a plan of action. There are several skill-based volunteer opportunities in this program including:

Administrative Assistance: Help maintain client files, answer phone inquiries and return voice messages; maintain resource literature racks and bulletin boards, compile client stories, assist with correspondence and provide other administrative support.

Other Opportunities

  • Economy Shop Opportunities Housing Forward was fortunate to be named one of the beneficiary non-profits at The Economy Shop in Oak Park. We require 20 volunteers to help us run our room when it reopens. Volunteers work a variety of shifts and jobs, which include sorting donations, stocking the racks, staffing the room on sale days, and more. We have an immediate need for a volunteer Room Chair. For more information, please reach out to or 708.338.1724 ext. 220. Sarah Catalano, Volunteer Coordinator can also be reached at 338.1724 ext. 220 or by emailing

  • Auxiliary Board: Housing Forward is currently seeking new board members to work on our main annual fundraiser, the Have-a-Heart Gala taking place February  2021. This board gathers items for the event’s silent auction and members can choose from a variety of assignments such as soliciting local business for donations, preparing donation solicitation packets, picking up donated items, assembling baskets of smaller auction items, helping the day-of to set up auction areas, etc. The time commitment and assignments can vary based on personal interests and schedules. Minimal group meetings are held with a majority of work done from home. If you are interested in joining this dynamic, fun group we encourage you to apply. If you have questions, please contact Erik Johnson at 708.338.1724, ext. 262 or via email at
  • Associate Board: Housing Forward Associate Board is an innovative group of young professionals who are committed to furthering the friend-raising and fundraising efforts of Housing Forward. This new board will provide individuals the opportunity to develop new skills and broaden professional social circles while working to end homelessness. If you are looking for an opportunity to put your creativity, talents and skills toward a great cause, we encourage you to apply. If you have questions about the Associate Board, please contact Erik Johnson at 708.338.1724, ext. 262 or via email at
  • Graphic Designer: Are you looking for a place to volunteer your talents? Housing Forward is looking for skilled volunteers with a passion for helping others. If you are a graphic designer or graphic artist and able to spare a few hours on an ad hoc basis, we could use you! Potential projects include designing event flyers, posters, general collateral development, print/electronic ads, signage, etc. This volunteer opportunity will require access to a personal computer and design software. If you are interested in this opportunity, please contact Michelle Ptack at 708.338.1724, ext. 315 or via email at
  • Photography: Volunteers needed to photograph various fundraising events, dinners, benefits, etc. Must have access to own equipment and willing to share photographs via Dropbox and other social media. Time commitment varies, depending on agency events and personal preference. If you are interested in this volunteer opportunity, please contact Michelle Ptack at 708.338.1724, ext. 315 or via email at


What is AmeriCorps? How does the program support Housing Forward?

AmeriCorps engages service minded Americans in intensive community outreach each year at nonprofits, schools, public agencies, and community and faith-based groups across the country.

Since the program’s founding in 1994, more than 800,000 AmeriCorps members have contributed over 1 billion hours in service across America while tackling pressing problems and mobilizing millions of volunteers for the organizations they serve.

Housing Forward’s mission is to transition people from housing crisis to housing stability. AmeriCorps members help forward this mission by assisting clients with basic needs and encouraging access to services and housing. Members will engage in an intensive service year that includes direct service and support, job specific training, community service, as well as engagement in monthly group activities. At the end of your service year, members will also engage in exercises focusing on life after AmeriCorps to help evaluate your accomplishments and figure out how to combine your skills and interests into a potential career path.

AmeriCorps represents a great way to:

  • Gain valuable work experience
  • Propel yourself into a future social services or non-profit career
  • Assist with educational expenses
  • Help to deliver vital programs to make a significant change in the lives of those we serve

Interested in Serving as an AmeriCorps member at Housing Forward?
Are you looking for an opportunity to make a real difference in the community? Do you want to gain new skills and experiences? Are you passionate about empowering in your community?

Housing Forward is currently seeking 12 individuals to serve as full-time AmeriCorps Team members for 2018 – 2019 service year.

Service Locations May Include: Maywood, Oak Park and LaGrange, IL.


  • Living stipend paid bi-weekly ($13,732 annual total)
  • Education Award: Upon successful completion of the member's term of service, the member will receive an education award from the National Service Trust in the amount of $5,730.
  • Invaluable social services experience
  • Extensive training
  • Basic Health Insurance for AmeriCorps member
  • Subsidized childcare (if eligible)
  • Student loan forbearance (on qualifying loans)


  • Successfully serve in the position, serve 37.5 hours a week and meet the 1700 minimum requirement for a full term of service
  • Be a U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
  • Must be 18 years of age at the start date of service
  • Have a valid Driver's License & clean driving record
  • Pass required criminal background checks
  • Members must have demonstrated experience and ability to interact sensitively and respectfully with persons of various backgrounds and all walks of life.

TO APPLY: If you are applying for an AmeriCorps position, apply directly at the AmeriCorps portal. When searching Housing Forward jobs in the AmeriCorps portal, please put the following:

1. Program Type: AmeriCorps State/National
2. State: IL
3. Program Name: Housing Forward

4. Click on Interested Position(s)


Housing Forward via email at or visit My

PLEASE NOTE: AmeriCorps team position offers are contingent upon AmeriCorps funding notification.