This past weekend, Hidden Valley Ranch and Gino’s East of Wheaton and Gino’s East of South Barrington partnered to respond to the needs of people who have been deeply affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan came together when Sarah Dolan, a member of the Housing Forward Board of Directors, connected the Maywood nonprofit agency with offers to help from the makers of Hidden Valley Ranch, and two Gino’s East franchises. The result was a uniquely Chicago dinner, delivered to all the individuals and families currently sheltering-in-place in temporary motel accommodations. One client, who was especially excited, explained that she ran into financial trouble and found herself homeless after relocating to the area just as the coronavirus crisis began. “I’ve been hearing about real Chicago pizza for years, but I never expected to have it delivered to me. I am already grateful to have a place to stay so this is almost too much to believe.”
Housing Forward is the only social service provider in west Cook County with a comprehensive, long-term solution for helping individuals and families end their homelessness. The agency is currently supporting more than one hundred people experiencing homelessness, who would have been staying in their overnight PADS Emergency Shelter program and are now safeguarded at motels and apartments in their service area. They are also providing over 2000 meals weekly with the help of local businesses, volunteers and donors. Case managers continue to help maintain the stability of additional clients in supportive housing programs, and the need to prevent others in crisis from becoming homeless continues to increase. The costs incured daily were unexpected and unbudgeted, so strong community support is key. Please consider a donation to their Emergency Response Fund. Your help ensures that people who are experiencing homelessness—or are at risk of it—have access to services during the coronavirus pandemic.