A La Porte County homeless shelter has found a new home. Since 2001 PADS has been serving the homeless community of La Porte County by offering folks a meal and a church to sleep in. Now, PADS has become incorporated and is soon to inhabit their new home, which was formerly the building for Sacred Heart Church. To help in the renovation process, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte offered PADS a challenge grant that matched dollar for dollar if the organization could raise $100,000.
Two months is all it took for Interfaith Community PADS to do so, with generous donations from all over La Porte County and beyond. PADS Vice President Ed Merrion has been overwhelmed by the support they’ve received from both the surrounding community and statewide.
“The La Porte County community has had a wonderful response to both our GoFundMe and P.O. Box, and having a foundation behind you makes a huge difference in your ability to raise funding,” Merrion said. “I’ve never held a check for $100,000 before, so this feels great. We are so thankful for the support because the people that we’re dealing with are not homeless people, they’re people suffering from homelessness.”
Since October 2017 PADS has been running a separate women’s program alongside their longstanding men’s program. PADS Executive Director Harrison Holtkamp is beyond grateful to be gaining the ability to serve even more of the homeless community by simply being in one place rather than a different church every night like it has been since the inception.
“The end result is that we want to be in one building and this is the most perfect spot for us because it’s around sister agencies, the bus route, and it’s going to be much easier for our clients, providers, and everyone to find,” he said. “That’s what we’re looking for because traveling from church to church was logistically crazy for everyone. I am so pleased that they accepted our grant proposal and then some. This is above and beyond anything I’ve ever imagined, it’s 100 times what we’ve ever brought in.”
After receiving a request for $100,000 from PADS, Healthcare Foundation of La Porte countered with a challenge grant, offering to match the grant dollar for dollar if they could raise the initial $100,000. CEO and President of Healthcare Foundation of La Porte Maria Fruth knows the importance of taking care of the homeless community.
“Without a roof over your head, it's very hard to tackle our mission and vision of being in the top ten healthiest communities by 2030, because if you don’t have a home, your chances of being healthy are very diminished,” Fruth said. “We viewed this as an opportunity to improve the services of the community and grow their capacity to serve those in need.”
HFL will match Interfaith Community PADS’ next challenge grant 2 to 1, so once PADS raises $18,750, HFL will GRANT $37,500.
“We feel very privileged to be able to help solve or alleviate the homeless challenges in La Porte County through PADS, and the community effort is the best part,” said HFL board president Jeffrey Bernel. “It’s nice to be able to be a part of an organization that can improve the conditions of La Porte County and we’re looking forward to seeing this grow so that we really do have a handle on the homeless situation.”
Contributions can be mailed to: ICPI, P.O. BOX 38, Michigan City, IN 46361 or online at www.gofundme.com/f/Sacred-Heart-Shelter-Renovation. For more information about the programs of the Healthcare Foundation of La Porte, visit them at https://hflaporte.org/.