PATH housing and low income assistance programs.

One of the primary goals of Providing Access To Help (PATH) is to prevent homelessness in the greater McClean County community. So to this end the non-profit charity has staff that can direct clients to everything from shelter or provide information on emergency financial aid, including from the Continuum of Care. Not only may a homeless person or those on the verge of it learn about potential housing solutions to their crisis, but they can also get other basic needs met such as food and more.

Partners of PATH run an Emergency Shelter service in coordination with other local Bloomington Illinois agencies. It provides shelter, case management and other support including food to those facing homelessness in the community.

The shelter programs runs via a system of local churches and faith based groups throughout McLean County. Each week, as capacity allows, people (including families) have access to shelter at a house of worship where volunteers help them feel safe and comfortable in their temporary surroundings. There are furnished sleeping quarters and a living area where guests can talk, relax, do laundry, and complete homework.

During day hours at the shelters, guests of PATH - Providing Access To Help can meet with their case manager. They can also use the phone and computers to seek a job or apply for government benefits. The adults can establish action plans and create goals to help them get back on their feet. After their children come home from school, they can do their homework before returning to their temporary living quarters. So there are various other services arranged.

At the PATH affiliated shelter, meals including breakfast, hot or bagged lunches and dinner are provided every day to these needy families. They also have shower and laundry facilities at their disposal for personal hygiene.

In addition to above, any guest who is using the program has the following resources at their disposal. They will have free use of phone and Internet access at PATH; assistance with conducting housing and employment searches; plentiful opportunities for job training in Mclean County; budget management classes; credit counseling and even parenting and nutrition workshops.




The PATH Continuum of Care Homeless Assistance Program’s main focus is to help families remove poverty from their lives. Then, the next step is on making them stable and self-sufficient. Social and maintenance help is also available to eligible clients.

The Supportive Housing Service from Providing Access To Help was created to provide housing and supportive services to homeless clients, including the disabled and seniors in McClean County Illinois. This will allow them to live a life as independently as possible. The Supportive Housing Program is even authorized by Title IV, Subtitle C, of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, as amended

PATH partners with other groups too as part of the local Continuum of Care strategy. Many non-profits work together to offer housing services to help homeless clients smoothly transition to living a stable and secure life in their community.

PATH has information on agencies that are approved to run Section 8, the Housing Choice Voucher program that assists eligible families with locating and paying for safe, affordable housing in McLean County. This is done through a subsidized voucher or certificate program that provides financial help with monthly rental and in some cases utility payments. PATH team members administer Section 8 housing to eligible clients through funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

As part of this program, the prospective tenant is able to choose their own housing or apartment, within limits. It needs to meet the predetermined requirements set forth by HUD in terms of safety standards in the residence.

Providing Access To Help (PATH) has a main goal of finding struggling, low-income families a safe and permanent home to live in. But they also want to address the crisis itself. So case managers also provide education as to how they ended up evicted or foreclosed on in the first place. The permanent housing program run by the non-profit was created for those purposes.

With the help of partnerships and government grants, eligible homeless families have the opportunity to live in apartments paid for in part by section 8 vouchers while working towards meeting goals of living a fully independent life with an assigned case manager. Some of the usual goals established by clients in the program include participate in wellness and nutrition education, achieve greater self-determination, and clients can receive money management education from PATH.





The non-profit also partners with groups that run an after-school program. It is offered at a low cost, or in some cases free of charge for children of low-income, needy families. The program runs a few days a week for children residing in temporary shelter or permanent housing. This service offers enrichment activities, academic tutoring and healthy living education to homeless children, all of which helps reduce the negative and stressful effects of being homeless.

Another part of the PATH supplemental housing activities that are available to clients is the the Adopt-A-Family program. It makes sure that on Christmas day, that low income families, including those in the shelter, have a free holiday dinner or gifts for a child. Or it can offer necessary winter items such as shoes and coats.

This annual service, using donations, will try to make sure all children are adopted by local participating neighbors, charity organizations and churches. In September of each year, families who wish to participate in the PATH Adopt a Family program sign up to request an adoption. By October, requests from the community for Christmas supplies are sent out for the families.

McLean County community members, businesses and other organizations agree to the adoption and donate at least one gift per family member. All donations are collected by PATH affiliated sponsors during the fall from various individuals, schools, churches, businesses and other agencies in the community. Gift certificates, winter coats, shoes, toilet paper and personal toiletries are some of the many items donated and gifted to needy families. In addition, every participating needy family receives enough food for a meal.

For referrals from the PATH specialists, call (309) 827-4005. They will help the client access benefits in the state and county.




By Jon McNamara

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