Shelter program donates lodging to those in need

By Tammy Sholer

Public Action to Deliver Shelter (PADS) is a program which allows NIU students, the DeKalb community and area visitors who have no place to stay spend the night at various DeKalb and Sycamore churches.

Kathy Black, PADS member, said PADS is run entirely by volunteers from NIU and the surrounding area. Gloria Rubel, coordinator for the Newman Center program, said PADS offers “a warm evening meal, a clean bed to sleep in and breakfast in the morning.”

ubel said the program began Sept. 16, 1986, and it will continue until April 15, 1987. She said the progam was carried over from a similar 9-year program in Aurora.

There are several different location sites where PADS houses people. On Monday, people can stay at the United Methodist Church of Sycamore and on Tuesday nights in the Salem Lutheran Church, also in Sycamore, Black said.

Black said Thursday night people can stay at the Newman Center in DeKalb, Friday night people can stay at the Hillcrest Covenant Church in DeKalb, and Saturday nights are held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Sycamore.

There is not, however, a site for Wednesday nights or Sunday nights, in which case, homeless people can stay at a hotel, Rubel said. Funding for hotel accommodations comes from individuals and church collections, she said.

Several NIU students stayed at the Newman Center when the WNIU-FM tower was on the verge of falling over in November, Black said. In addition, there are three to four regulars who eat dinner and spend the night, she said.

ubel said there are four rules which must be followed in order to stay at a site, including “no alcohol or drugs, no weapons and no fighting or disorderly conduct.” In addition, she said if someone leaves, they cannot return that evening.

ubel said there have not been any problems with the rules being disobeyed. Instead, people appreciate the program, she said. She said if there is a problem, a coordinator in charge knows how to get in touch with the proper authorities.

“Even though the sites are in churches the program is not trying to push religion, but it is only offering hospitality,” Rubel said.

The doors are open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. at all the sites, Black said. Rubel said there are two shifts, one from 7 p.m. to midnight and one from midnight to 7 a.m. It is hard to get volunteers for the second shift because students have to go to classes, Rubel said. Black said she likes to see people spend the night, but she also hopes they have another place.