STERLING – The new director of the Twin Cities PADS homeless shelter wants to help people get out of the shelter and onto their feet as soon as possible.
Myles Newberry has been the shelter’s director since Sept. 15, replacing Brandy Wren, who left to spend more time with her family.
Newberry, 48, of Sterling said he had been working toward becoming involved with the shelter for a long time.
“It wasn’t necessarily the homeless, but it was more being involved,” he said. “I have this strong belief that each one of us are responsible for helping out the social conditions that are in our community.
“It works so much better when it’s us working together [rather] than relying on somebody somewhere else who doesn’t have a vested interest in how their community is.”
Newberry said PADS is the “ultimate community organization.”
“It’s a coming together of churches and businesses and individuals who want to provide something to help out people,” he said.
As director, Newberry has primary responsibility for raising funds, organizing volunteers and working with Robert Enlow, the client advocate.
Enlow’s job, new to the shelter this year, is to “sit down with the people who come to the shelter, and try to help,” Newberry said.
The new client advocate will meet with community leaders and local law enforcement officials to share with them the shelter’s new vision, Enlow wrote in an email.
Enlow, 52, of Rock Falls, said people can become homeless for many reasons. Some lose jobs without notice, and others are left homeless because of complicated family finances, he wrote.
“Sometimes our clients are not familiar with community resources, which is where I hope to provide assistance for their needs,” he wrote. “Assisting with problem solving may take several attempts, but our clients who are genuinely trying to make positive changes will be provided assistance and treated with dignity.”
Newberry and Enlow hope the role of client advocate will help people find a better place than the shelter.
“We wanted to be able to, instead of just have people hang at the shelter all winter, maybe find them a more permanent solution or help, and there’s so many things out there to help,” Newberry said.
Shelter is in need
Newberry is looking for more volunteers to help staff the shelter, which is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. There are three volunteer shifts: from 7 to 11 p.m.; 11 p.m. to 3 a.m., and 3 to 7 a.m. The 11 p.m. and 3 a.m. shifts are most in need of volunteers, he said.
During a given month, Newberry said, half of the days are uncovered.
The shelter also needs new socks, underwear, sweatpants and sweatshirts for men and women, he said.
In addition, the shelter always is looking for financial donations. It costs $33 per person per night to operate the shelter, according to an informational brochure. The cost covers food, electricity, heat, water, waste and building maintenance.
Newberry said he doesn’t know whether enough people are aware of the shelter. It does receive community support, but a certain mentality permeates some circles, he said.
That is the “Not in my backyard,” mentality. Those people don’t want to be near a shelter and don’t want to acknowledge that homelessness is an issue in their communities, he said.
Working as director has been eye-opening, Newberry said.
“People might just look to one thing or the other,” he said, “and not focus on the whole big picture, that a lot of people are just neighbors that need help.”
Twin Cities PADS
Twin Cities PADS homeless shelter is at 111 E. 29th St., near Wahl Clipper. The shelter is open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Oct. 1 to May 1.
To volunteer, call 815-626-2210. Executive Director Myles Newberry hopes to be at the office from about 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The shelter also is looking for volunteers for its second and third shifts, from 11 p.m. to 3 a.m. and from 3 to 7 a.m.
The shelter also needs new socks and underwear, and sweatpants and sweatshirts for men and women. Donations of grocery gift cards, liquid laundry detergent, soap and cleaning supplies also are needed.
The Dixon PADS Shelter is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year. It is located at 805 W. First St. in Dixon.
Executive Director Marion Younger said the shelter always needs personal care items, including toiletries and paper supplies.
To volunteer at the shelter or to donate, contact Younger at 815-440-6306.