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How You Can Help the Homeless in DuPage County

The reporter's social action project for English 1H was to raise awareness about and collect donations for the DuPage Pads.

Madelyn Elvart

The reporter's social action project for English 1H was to raise awareness about and collect donations for the DuPage Pads.

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Homeless shelters have a major role in assisting the homeless, but so do members of the community. Yet, some people do not understand the problems faced by the homeless population.

Members of the DuPage community help keep shelters such as DuPage Pads operational, but the homeless are often misunderstood by people who are not in their situations. According to Janelle Barcelona from DuPage Pads, something people often don’t understand about the homeless is that “each of [them] are individuals who have their own stories and each and every story is different.” You cannot group them into one stereotype.

Despite what is commonly believed, people who are seen sleeping on the street and who ask for money or food are not the only type of people who are considered homeless and they are not the only ones who rely on shelters. As said by Janelle Barcelona, “There is no stereotypical homeless person.”

The most common form of homelessness is transitional homelessness. People who are transitionally homeless experience crisis or disaster of some kind that causes them to lose their home. They are often employed and need to stay in a shelter for a short period of time so they can get back up on their feet and carry on with their lives.

Episodic homelessness is when a person is in and out of shelters and is homeless multiple times because they struggle to find a long-term home, often because they are unemployed. Sometimes this is because of physical or mental disadvantages that keep them without a job.

Chronic homelessness is what people often think of when they think about homelessness. People who are chronically homeless are usually unemployed and often have disabilities, mental illnesses, or substance abuse problems. Shelters tend to be a long-term situation for them. This is the smallest group of the homeless population, but it is the easiest group to see and has become the stereotype for all homeless individuals.

The reason why homeless shelters are so vitally important is that they can help people or families transition back to a normal and self-reliant life. For others, shelters may be the only way to get proper care. As it is said on the DuPage Pads website, “DuPage Pads is about the journey home,” a saying which can apply to shelters everywhere.

Some people by may be worried that if they give money to help someone on the street the person may waste it on drugs or alcohol. That’s where shelters can be helpful.  One of the best and easiest ways to help the homeless is to donate money to shelters. Shelters ensure that your donation will make it to people who need it and be used for good purposes. Helping out in shelters or donating money can benefit many homeless people’s lives.

Other ways to help include volunteering, holding a fundraiser, becoming a partner of the shelter, and attending any fundraising events.

One of the most well known and most reliable shelters near Glen Ellyn is DuPage Pads, regularly providing the homeless with many goods and services. Last year they helped a total of 1,322 people, provided 41,036 nights of shelter, and served 130,335 meals. If you have an interest in helping out, a good way to make a difference is to donate money to https://dupagepads.org/. It doesn’t have to be a lot; small actions make a big impact!

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