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frequently asked questions




  • What are some of the key reasons for homelessness?

    • Homelessness is caused by tragic life occurrences like the loss of loved ones, job loss, domestic violence, divorce and family disputes. Other impairments such as depression, untreated mental illness, post-traumatic stress disorder, and physical disabilities are also responsible for a large portion of the homeless. 

  • Are all homeless people chronically homeless?

    • Nope! Chronically homeless people are dealing with long term homelessness.  They do not have the physical or mental ability to regain housing on their own. There are others that deal with homelessness on a temporary basis but have the resources to regain housing.

  • What is "Built For Zero?" 

    • A rigorous national change effort working to help a core group of 73 committed communities/counties including Lake County, IL - end veteran and chronic homelessness through a program called Housing First. Updates can be found at

  • What is "Housing First"?

    • Housing first is a highly effective approach to ending chronic homelessness that emphasizes providing people experiencing homelessness with permanent housing right away and then offering other services as needed.

  • What are the benefits of housing first?

    • Stable housing puts people in a better position to benefit voluntarily from needed services over time. In contrast with less effective traditional approaches, housing first does not force homeless people to complete or comply with treatment, mental health care, employment training or other services in order to access and maintain permanent housing, but rather offers these services alongside housing.

    • People experiencing homelessness are three times more likely to die from illnesses that can be treated or prevented. Stable housing removes people from these dangers and puts them in a better position to benefit voluntarily from needed services such as preventative health care.

    • The vast majority of housing first tenants (85% on average) do not return to homelessness, remaining stably housed at rates that often exceed those of their counterparts in traditional treatment first programs.

    • Housing first measurably lowers taxpayer costs by reducing chronically homeless people’s reliance on expensive services like shelters, psychiatric hospitals and the emergency room. Permanent supportive housing is far cheaper than these services.

      • For example, a 2014 study found the cost of homelessness in Central Florida to be $31,065 per person/year ­­ primarily from inpatient hospitalizations, emergency room fees and criminal justice costs. In contrast, the study found that providing permanent housing for these chronically homeless individuals costs just $10,051 per person/year ­­ one third the cost of leaving these individuals on the streets.


Homelessness in Lake County, Illinois

  • How many chronically homeless were in Lake County prior to Housing First?

    • About 50 people.

  • When we house all the chronically homeless in Lake County, will we still need services like PADS?

    • Yes.  PADS may still provide services to the chronically homeless like meals.  PADS is also necessary for the non-chronically homeless as they deal with their temporary situation.

  • What Lake County organizations are part of the Lake County Coalition for the Homeless?

    • A Safe Place,  C.O.O.L., Catholic Charities, City of Waukegan (CDBG), City of North Chicago, Community Youth Network, C.R.E.W., Inc., Harbor, Alexian Bros., I­Plus, Independence  Center, Kids Hope United, Lake County Community Development, Lake County Haven, Lake County Health Department, Behavioral Health Services, Lake County Housing Authority, Lake County Regional Office of Education, Lake County Residential Development  Corp. (LCRDC), Love, INC, Maristella, Nicasa, PADS Crisis Services, Inc.,  Prairie State Legal Services, Shields Township, United Way of Lake County, VA Medical Center in North Chicago, Waukegan Township, Zion Township, and more.

  • Where are the apartments located that will house the homeless?

    • Low income apartments are located throughout Lake County.

  • How are homeless people selected for housing?

    • Lake County maintains a list of all chronically homeless.  The housing priority is based on assessed need for each person.

  • Besides housing, what other support is provided?

    • A caseworker is assigned to help the individual or family with other needed services. Some examples of services include mental health, medicine, hygiene assistance, finance management, transportation assistance, life skills, and job training.

Funding Housing First in Lake County IL

  • Are there federal funds available to provide housing to the chronically homeless?

    • Yes.  Housing first was instituted as federal policy under the George W. Bush Administration and has been expanded under the Obama Administration.

    • Federal, along with private funds has been or will be used to house 35 chronically homeless individuals in Lake County.

  • Are there chronically homeless housing needs not supported by current funds?

    • Yes.  About 6 people.

  • How much does it cost to house a chronically homeless person?

    • $900 per month which includes $600 per month for an apartment, $200 per month for a case worker, $100 per month for utilities

  • How long is funding needed to support the chronically homeless?

    • There will be an ongoing need for $900 per month for 6 people.

Why should I fund housing for the chronically homeless?

  • Compassion for the homeless that do not have the ability or systems in place to provide housing for themselves.   Could you imagine a life of homelessness for yourself?  What would you be willing to do for a family member or friend that was homeless?

  • Housing first measurably lowers taxpayer costs by reducing chronically homeless people’s reliance on expensive services like shelters, psychiatric hospitals and the emergency room. Permanent supportive housing is far cheaper than these services.

How can I help?

  • How can I donate to end chronic homelessness in Lake County?

    • Donate at our website

    • Monthly or one time donations are appreciated!

    • You will receive a letter to support your tax deduction.

  • If I do not want to donate on the web, can I just write a check?

    • Yes.  Make the check out to PADS of Lake County and note Housing First in the memo line.  The check can be mailed to PADS of Lake County, c/o TenToEnd, 1800 Grand Ave, Waukegan, IL 60085.

  • Do you need anything other than money?

    • We could you use your help to get the word out to your family, friends, co-workers, and community.

    • The homeless community could use your respect and care through a kind word or taking time to listen to them and acknowledging their challenges. Your effort and sacrifices mean the world to us and them! 

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