BEDS Plus in the Age of COVID-19: Why Your Help Means More Than Ever
BEDS Plus Care helps vulnerable individuals stabilize their lives through housing and supportive services. In its first 30 years, BEDS Plus built upon strong community support to respond to all the needs of the poor and homeless we serve. Starting with emergency overnight shelter, we added daytime services, professional case managers, housing and prevention programs, and over 100 units of permanent supportive housing, including Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing and Dover Place. This growth was made possible by volunteers, donors and advocates who believe that everyone deserves a home.
Responding effectively to COVID-19 has been a challenge, but BEDS was able to pivot and deliver emergency shelter during a mass quarantine. In mid-March we created a congregate 24-hour shelter at St. Barbara’s in Brookfield, which moved to Salem United Church in Oak Lawn after two months. However, there were many who needed help. As a last resort, we placed these clients — often families — in motel rooms. By the end of July, we provided 12,506 shelter nights to 234 adults and children and provided them with 37,518 meals.
To adapt to the new reality of COVID-19 BEDS has a new initiative. We are partnering with Cook County to purchase a building that will provide 24-hour shelter and services for the most medically vulnerable homeless, while we help them secure permanent housing.
Launching a major new project was not among our strategic goals for this year, but then nothing about 2020 seems to be going as planned. If we are to stay true to our mission to help our neighbors struggling with homelessness, BEDS must look for new ways to achieve its goals. The generosity of our community has helped us grow and improve the opportunities for countless poor and homeless people. You came forward when COVID-19 struck. We hope you will join us as we find new ways to help those who need it most.
Susan Valentine, J.D., is a shareholder of Valentine Austriaco & Bueschel, P.C., a certified Women’s Business Enterprise with 100 percent female ownership.
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