Working to end homelessness for over 30 years
In 1988, a group of leaders from the La Grange area faith community came together to ease the distress of the homeless people in their area. A group at First Presbyterian Church of La Grange initially studied the area to determine the need and feasibility for creating a program based on the DuPage County PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter). They identified 40 people in the immediate area who were homeless and needed somewhere to spend the night. Lyonsville Congregational Church of Christ in Indian Head Park, Hope Lutheran Church in Countryside, First Congregational Church of La Grange and Zion Lutheran Church in Lyons joined First Presbyterian to form Building Ecumenical Discipleship through Sheltering, or B.E.D.S, in 1989.
Staffed by volunteers, each church agreed to offer shelter for one night a week, with the shelters closing during the summer. The rotating schedule of sheltering people in different churches in different neighborhoods on different nights not only distributed the work of delivering shelter, it allayed community concerns about negative impact on any one neighborhood. In 1988, 28 homeless people made a total of 99 visits to B.E.D.S. shelters.
By the second year four more churches became part of the mission. They were St. Louise de Marrillac in LaGrange Park, St. Francis Xavier in LaGrange, Brainard Ave. Baptist Church in LaGrange Highlands, and Church of Christ in Brookfield. BEDS was now able to offer shelter seven nights a week. In 1989, 77 people made a total of 700 visits. The program was on its way.
Since then, the agency has grown into a leader in reducing and ending homelessness throughout Southwest Suburban Cook County through partnerships with other service providers, public and private financial support, and strategic addition of evidence-based practices to house, stabilize and foster independence for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. Today, BEDS Plus Care delivers the entire array of established interventions to end homelessness, as described throughout our web site.