PADS to hold first fundraiser

Participants will sleep outdoors

DIXON – To raise money for Dixon’s homeless shelter and raise awareness about homelessness, residents are being invited to sleep outdoors.

Dixon PADS Homeless Shelter, 805 W. First St., will hold its first fundraiser, One Night Without a Home, Friday, Nov. 22, in the parking lot of the shelter. To give residents a glimpse of what it’s like to be homeless, residents will sleep outside from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m., and are encouraged to take pledges for sleeping in 1-hour increments.

The fundraiser was planned for the end of November to coincide with National Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week, said Board President Vanessa White.

“This was something that I kind of came across,” she said. “And I thought the significance would be, because I still see people living under the bridge or sleeping in the park, ... I felt that this would be powerful so that we could get the message out there that ... this is what these people do.”

The shelter opened in 1990 and the One Night Without a Home event will be its first fundraiser, White said, adding that its been kept afloat by donations and funds from the United Way.

“Our water, alone, is $900 for 3 months,” she said. “Our ComEd bill is $200 or $300 a month. I have to pay for repairs on the house. Our homeowners insurance is $2,400 a year. I mean, we’re operating a residence, with 20 people in it.”

Currently, the shelter has 19 residents, White said, the youngest being 18 months old. There are three families and 7 children 14 or younger, she said.

While awareness of homelessness is growing, White said, there are still a lot of residents who aren’t aware of the number of homeless people in the area and the obstacles they face.

“Those families that I work with, they have no place else to go,” she said. “That’s the first thing I say to them, ‘Who’s your emergency contact?’ They say, ‘I have none, Vanessa.’ ... These people have nothing else. If this shelter wasn’t here, I don’t know where they’d be going.”

About the event

The One Night Without a Home event will be from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. Friday, Nov. 22, in the parking lot of the Dixon PADS Homeless Shelter, 805 W. First St.

Breakfast will be served at 7 a.m., and there will be tours of the shelter from 6 to 8 a.m.

Residents participating in the event are encouraged to bring a sleeping bag and dress warmly in old clothes, boots or shoes and to layer their clothing. Additionally, residents shouldn't bring valuables but should bring their own water or other beverages.

A bonfire will be kept burning throughout the night.

More information

For more information about the Dixon PADS Homeless Shelter or to register for One Night Without a Home, call 815-440-6598 or email whiteva1979@yahoo.com.

Residents will also be able to register for the event on site.