On March 5, Interfaith Community PADS held a public open house at our shelter from noon to 3pm. We had beautiful spring-like weather and an incredible turnout. Thank you to everyone who attended! If you weren’t able to make it, we’re sharing a recap in this blog post.
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
March OpenHouse Recap
ICPADS hosted the open house with several aims in mind, including:
- Celebrating the installation of our new windows and door (our Phase 2 project)
- Giving the community a chance to see our shelter, including the men’s shelter (top floor) and women’s shelter (bottom floor)
- Delivering a “State of the Organization” address and answering your questions
The State of the Organization address was held at approximately 1pm. Our Executive Director, Harrison Holtkamp, and Board Treasurer, Ryan Ebbesen spoke about various aspects of running the shelter and then they took questions from the attendees. The entire address took about 45 minutes and covered a ton of ground.
If you were unable to make it, here’s a snapshot of what you missed.
A Rich History
At the beginning of the address, Harrison discussed the rich history of ICPADS, which started out as a mens-only shelter that rotated each night across churches in the community. You can learn more about our history in our blog post 6 Fun Facts about ICPADS, or check out this video from Harrison from 2021.
Throughout the journey, ICPADS grew to add a women’s shelter and to secure a permanent location on 8th Street in Michigan City. Regarding overcoming the challenges to get where we are today, Harrison remarked, “We knew the Lord and the community would provide.”
ICPADS is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and we are transparent about our finances. At the Open House, we discussed the financial realities of running our shelter. Attendees learned that:
- Grants cover about 75-80 percent of our operating costs.
- That means we are still operating ‘hand to mouth,’ counting on regular donations from the community
- Overall it costs $200-250K to run the shelter for a year, but if we were to provide all the resources we want, it would be more like $300K
- Utilities continue to rise and it costs about $1300 for Nipsco and water alone
- We also have to purchase 3 types of insurance, totaling about $1000 per month
- Like you, we have also been impacted by the rising cost of food and supplies
The two highest costs for the shelter are payroll and insurance. There are currently 8 paid staff: 2 full-time (including Harrison, our Director) and 6 part-time. Paid staff are an important element of running a safe and effective shelter, and we hope to expand this part of our operation in the future (see Goals near the end).
Services and Clients
It is important to look at our finances in relation to the work we do for our clients–the homeless men and women in our area who come to us for help.
- 196 guests came through the doors at ICPADS
- We had 8,257 bed nights
- We served 16,514 meals.
- We housed 78 guests (about 40 percent of those who came to us)
The work that we do is more than just providing temporary housing and meals. We also provide resources to help guests become self-sufficient. This includes case management and follow up after they leave. We’re trying to solve a problem that Michigan City faces, and that goes beyond simply giving guests a bed and a meal..
One program that was mentioned during the Open House was a financial literacy class that is held once a month for the men at the shelter. When a guest completes the 3-hour course, they get a certificate which they can use for a downpayment on an apartment up to $750.
Harrison also stressed that the shelter does not take a cookie-cutter approach to clients. Our ability to help people requires an understanding that every person and every case is different. 70 percent of our clients suffer from a mental illness, and 50 percent have an addiction. Unlike the shelter-resistant people you may see on the streets, our guests come to us because they genuinely want help. We are not here to make money, but to serve our guests to the best of our ability.
During the Open House we also talked about projects related to our building. This includes:
- Phase 2 Remodel: It cost $72K to install new windows and a new door to the top level of the building. We are happy to report that this work is complete!
- Painting: The next project is all about beautifying the shelter. We will be painting the top level and the cost estimate is $22.5K. Workers will have to build scaffolding and then tear it down at 5pm each day so we can continue to run the shelter during the work.
- Roof: We are concerned that we may need a new roof in the near future. We do not have estimates for this job yet (but understand it will be a specialty job since we have a high, steep roof). We are hoping we can patch the roof in the time being.
- Office: We are also hoping to relocate Harrison’s office to the choir loft. Doing so will add room for three more guests on the men’s floor.
Throughout the State of the Organization Address, Harrison and Ryan spoke about various goals for the organization (beyond the projects listed above). This includes:
- In-House Case Management: ICPADS would love to be in the position to hire an in-house case manager for our clients. The case manager would be able to work with each client one on one and direct them to the correct organization that can offer the support and resources they need.
- More Trained Staff: We’d also love to be able to hire more trained staff. Currently, the shelter operates with no management beyond the Director himself. By adding more trained staff and managers, operations will run smoother and we can safeguard the shelter’s future.
- A New Name: Our name Interfaith Community PADS was created because when we started, we modeled ourselves off the PADS program. However, now we have a permanent location and the name no longer fits. We’re looking to find a new name that really matches who we are and what we do. We don’t know what that will be yet, but it will likely end with “…. Community Shelter.”
- Growing Our Email List: At the Open House, we had a QR code for people to easily sign up for our newsletter. We’d love to grow our email list so we can share information about our program with more people via email. If you haven’t done so yet, please sign up here!
The Best Way to Support Us
During the Q&A period, a member of the audience asked how the community can support the work we do at the shelter. For one, we’d love to get more volunteers. We also appreciate donations of food and supplies. But the best way to support us? Set up a monthly recurring donation.
A recurring donation gives us money we can ‘count on’ to run the shelter each month. It also helps us with regular needs (such as milk, which used to cost us about $13.50 every 5 days but has risen to over $19!). Recurring donations can also be used to pay our staff (whereas grant money usually cannot be used for this purpose).
Hope to See You at Our Next Open House!
That covers all that you missed at our Open House and in our State of the Organization address. We hope that you found this article helpful and if you have any other questions, you can contact us here. We hope to see you at our next open house!