When a person encounters homelessness, they’re going through a pretty difficult time in their life. It’s important to reach out for help, but doing so can feel intimidating. Maybe this is you right now. And maybe one of the things you’re wondering is what it’s like to stay at a homeless shelter? If so, we wrote this article for you.
Different homeless shelters have different rules, so what you’ll find below are the policies and procedures specifically for the Interfaith Community PADS homeless shelter, located on 1001 West 8th Street in Michigan City, Indiana. We’ll cover our process for first-time guests, and the daily routine for returning guests.
Our goal in writing this post is to convey our welcoming attitude and genuine desire to help those in our community who are facing homelessness. We hope this article answers your questions about what it’s like to stay at the ICPADS Homeless Shelter so you will reach out to us if you ever need our services.
Therefore welcome one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God. (Romans 15:7)
What’s It Like to Stay at the ICPADS Homeless Shelter?
We’ve divided this article into two parts: our policies and procedures for first time guests, and then our daily routine for returning guests.
If you experience homelessness and would like to stay at the ICPADS homeless shelter, here’s what you can expect.
1. Call Us
The first and most important step is to call us at (219) 276-7582. This will allow us to check availability at the shelter, assess if we’re the right shelter for you, and talk to you about next steps (including case management at Keys to Hope).
2. Covid Test
Before being allowed into the shelter for the first time, you’ll have to come over for a covid test. This has been a safety procedure since the pandemic struck, and we plan on continuing it so long as Covid is still a reality.
3. Intake Questionnaire
Once inside, a volunteer will sit down with you and get your answers to a quick intake questionnaire. This questionnaire allows us to understand your situation so we can guide you to the right services that will help. We’ll also review the shelter’s rules and expectations. Two important expectations are case management (which we will cover below), and the rule that once you are checked into the shelter for the night, you’re in for the night (or if you leave, you cannot be readmitted).
4. Case Management
Case management is a requirement of staying at the ICPADS homeless shelter because it’s important that we help you get the resources you need to become self-sufficient. First time guests must go to Keys to Hope either the day they call us or the day after they spend their first night. At Keys to Hope, you’ll get a case manager who will assess your needs and pair you with the right organizations that can help.
The Daily Routine
After your first night, it’s pretty much the same daily routine for all shelter guests. As mentioned above, case management is required, so you will have to check in with Keys to Hope everyday and follow your case management plan. If you’re following this expectation, then this is what you can expect when you come to the shelter each night.
1. Check In
Returning guests can check into the ICPADS homeless shelter between the hours of 5:30pm and 8:30pm. Once you check in, you are in for the night (or if you leave, you cannot be readmitted). Check-in includes a volunteer or staff member logging your name and the time you checked in and getting your temperature (another Covid precaution). Chores for the morning may be assigned. While staying in the shelter, guests (and volunteers) must wear a mask, unless on the sleeping mats.
2. Getting Settled
Next, guests can get settled in. We provide bedding, so guests can grab what they need and set up their space for the night. During this time some guests watch television, while others read, use their phones, or chat with other guests and volunteers.
Dinner is served approximately from 7pm to 8pm each night. We try our best to provide a balanced meal that will fuel our guests for the day ahead. Guests gather together at tables to share the meal, and clean up their area afterward.
4. Evening/Night Hours
After dinner, it’s time to relax. Guests can watch TV, use their phones, read books, or even lay down to get an early rest. Quiet hours happen between 9pm to 10pm, and lights out is usually between 10pm and 11pm if not before.
Guests wake up around 5:30am. At this time they can have breakfast, do their chore (if one has been assigned to them), and clean up their area/bedding. Guests can leave at any time afterward, and all guests must be out by 7am. Guests must take all belongings with them–nothing can be stored at the shelter during the day. Check in and showers at Keys to Hope is required if the guest plans on staying the night at the ICPADS homeless shelter again.
ICPADS Homeless Shelter Welcomes You
We hope that this article has cleared up the questions you have about staying at the ICPADS homeless shelter. Any other questions? Just ask! We aim to provide a welcoming environment and the support you need to make it through this challenging time in your life. So far in 2022 (as of August) we have helped 48 guests find housing. We want to be part of your success story too.