BEDS Plus Care Newsletter: May 12, 2021
Remembering Joan, the lady in the red coat
Erin Molek: Why I Give

She was referred to as the woman in the red coat but I knew her as Joan. She was an everyday presence in our community: a small, slight lady who was very timid, kept to herself and spent her days walking the sidewalks of La Grange with her roller suitcase. Over the years, women in the community would collect donations to purchase Joan new puffy red coats with gift cards tucked in the pockets, replacement roller suitcases and any other items they believed she needed. She reluctantly accepted help.

At BEDS, where I work, we tried desperately to help her more but she often refused many of the services we offered. Joan’s independence and mental health issues kept us at a distance. We engaged with her on her terms continually hoping to ease her into accepting more assistance as we earned her trust over time.

We lost Joan in the summer of 2018. She went to the hospital due to an accident. While there it was revealed she had a terminal illness. She passed quickly thereafter. The community was saddened and astonished to realize that Joan – our lady in the red coat - had been walking the neighborhood with such an illness, most likely in pain, and never asked for help.

Our planned Summit Service Center aims to help people like Joan. Not only will it provide up to 24 months of fixed site, interim housing for medically vulnerable homeless adults, the Summit Service Center also will improve access to regional community-based and public resources. Together with long-standing and trusted partners, BEDS Plus will increase access to health care, mental health services and housing programs in a community at the heart of its service territory.

I would want Joan’s life and memory to help someone else down the road. For every door to be open and opportunities available for similar individuals to have some dignity and thoughtful care in their life.

My hope is that Joan’s story helps us all be more open and caring to others, especially since we do not really understand their circumstances. We all wanted to help Joan in whatever way we could. We all wished it could have been more and provided more dignity to her life.

In Memoriam
Joan 1965-2018

Click here to learn more about the Summit Service Center.
Special Announcement: 2021 Illinois Rental Payment Program
The Illinois Housing Development Authority will accept applications for the Illinois Rental Payment Program starting on Monday. The emergency rental assistance program is designed to support households in Illinois that are unable to pay rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Applicants are eligible for up to 15 months of assistance. The grant can cover the past due rent from the previous 12 months and future rental assistance for the next three months, if deemed necessary. The maximum grant amount is $25,000.

For more information, click here.
In Case You Missed It on Facebook
BEDS Bulletin! Federal Judge Dabney Friedrich on Wednesday struck down the national eviction moratorium, potentially leaving millions of Americans at risk of losing their homes two months earlier than expected. The Department of Justice plans to appeal the ruling and also seeks a stay of the decision so the ban would remain in effect throughout the court battle. About 1 in 5 renters across the country are struggling to keep up with their payments amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

We are so grateful for the support of Presbyterian Church of Western Springs, which recently donated money from its 2021 Lenten Challenge to BEDS for eviction prevention and stabilization services. Pictured is Pastor Erik Khoobyarian and BEDS Executive Director Tina Rounds. Thank you to the church and its members!

In partnership with Pillars Community Health, we held a COVID-19 vaccination clinic for our clients and other community members at our Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing facility on Friday. More than 50 people were able to get their first dose of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine!

Laundry can be such a chore! Help make doing the laundry a little easier for our clients by donating laundry bags and laundry hampers with wheels. We also need quart-sized Ziploc bags. For more information, please email Community Engagement Coordinator Erin Molek at
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