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posted: 11/4/2013 6:00 AM

Need is greater than ever in the suburbs

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Those of us working in the nonprofit service sector have seen a growing number of clients come to our doors. This has been especially true in the last five years, the years that correspond with the recession.

For ourselves -- Palatine-based JOURNEYS, The Road Home (formerly known as Journeys from PADS to HOPE) -- our clientele more than doubled from 659 in 2009 to 1,364 at the end of June this year. Ninety-two percent of these residents were considered "very low income;" for one person that is less than $11,000 a year.

Our agency assisted 529 homeless residents and 739 residents who were at risk of becoming homeless. They helped move 126 residents into housing -- an agency record -- and prevented 739 residents from losing their homes to eviction or foreclosure.

These are our neighbors. These are your co-workers. We are proud to be a grass-roots agency created by the community because the need was there. We are neighbors helping neighbors and are grateful for our community's support during this most difficult economic crisis.

We applaud the many people of good will who are trying to make a difference on behalf of those facing homelessness: volunteers staffing emergency shelters in faith communities; families fixing meals; donors sharing money; businesses, government agencies and foundations awarding grants; corporations matching employee gifts; service clubs and faith communities donating money and in-kind items (clothing, food, sundry items); and advocates who speak before state, county, and local government bodies.

It will take a "village" -- or as the editorial stated, a "comprehensive" approach involving the private, nonprofit and government sectors to find ways to help suburban neighbors resolve the housing crises they are facing so they can become self-reliant and a contributing member of our communities once again.

Jena Hencin

Palatine development director

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