Wayside moving out, PADS of Elgin taking over

Elgin's daytime homeless shelter, Wayside Cross Ministries, is moving out to find a new location in town, and the overnight shelter PADS of Elgin plans to take over the space Christmas Day to begin offering daytime services, officials said.

Wayside Cross Ministries Executive Director James Lukose and PADS of Elgin Executive Director Sarah J. Ponitz said they view the changes as a chance for growth. The agencies have shared space since 2006 in a building on Berkley Street on the west side.

Wayside plans to collaborate with two churches in downtown Elgin to continue offering a daytime shelter while it looks for a new place in town, Lukose said. Rumors that the agency is moving to Carpentersville are not true, he said.

Lukose declined to name the churches before things are finalized. The arrangement would allow Wayside to reach a larger number of homeless people in the downtown area, he said.

Elgin Assistant City Manager Laura Valdez said the city is working with Wayside to determine the feasibility of that.

For 12 years, PADS rented the building on Berkley Street and subleased a portion to Wayside. Then, Wayside bought the building in April and started charging rent to PADS while also continuing to pay its sublease, Ponitz and Lukose said.

At some point the agreement broke down - the two had different accounts of how that played out - and Wayside is moving out. Lukose didn't say what day; Ponitz said move-out is Dec. 24.

Wayside intends to be a good landlord and keep a positive relationship with PADS, Lukose said. "We are looking at this as an opportunity," he said.

Ponitz echoed that. "I view it now as an opportunity for PADS to expand our services," she said.

PADS will continue offering the free services that Wayside offers, including showers, laundry, lockers, lunch and case management, Ponitz said. Staff members will work two-hour shifts at the daytime shelter 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday. The plan is to expand hours and add Saturdays, along with vocational programs, likely in partnership with Elgin Community College, Ponitz said.

The agency is looking for additional funding, such as an emergency $25,000 grant from Hanover Township to buy new or used equipment including two commercial refrigerators, countertops, tables and a commercial warming or convection oven, she said.

PADS has a $600,000 annual operational budget and will need more than $30,000 for two additional part-time members to start with, she said.

The agency hopes people will donate money and volunteer to help with meals at the daytime shelter. For more information, call PADS at (847) 608-9744

Lukose said Wayside wants to find about 3,000 square feet of space "with the blessing of the city." The agency had identified a place on Dundee Avenue "but the city said 'no,'" Lukose said.

Valdez denied that. "The city did not say 'no' during its meeting with Wayside on Nov. 16, as any decision on planning and zoning approval needs to go through the process with the commission and city council," she said. "Staff provided Wayside information on the planning and zoning process, feedback from stakeholders, and communicated that the timeline for approving an application such as this would likely not line up with their desire to be in a new property by January."

The city is working with Wayside as they explore options to relocate, Valdez said. Regardless of where that might be, it "will likely generate a lot of community interest," she said.

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  Elgin's daytime homeless shelter, Wayside Cross Ministries, is moving out of the building on Berkley Street to find a new location in town and PADS of Elgin intends to take over those services beginning Christmas Day, officials said. Brian Hill/
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