Construction continues on the new BEDS Plus facility in Summit. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

Construction continues on the new BEDS Plus facility in Summit. (Photo by Carol McGowan)

BEDS Plus eyes December opening for new Summit facility

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By Carol McGowan

If you’ve seen work being done at the former CEDA building in Summit, and are wondering what’s going on, it’s a new BEDS Plus facility that will be open by the end of the year.

The building at 7666 W. 63rd Street is a $3.1 million public-private investment in long-term solutions for people who are poor and find themselves homeless in Southwest Suburban Cook County.

The official name will be the Linda Sokol Francis Summit Center.

BEDS Plus has been around for over 30 years.

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Gerald (left), a Desert Storm veteran, with his case worker on Gerald’s move-in day.

In 1988, La Grange area faith and lay leaders founded Building Ecumenical Discipleship through Sheltering (BEDS) after seeing community residents sleeping outdoors.

BEDS began as an overnight shelter rotating among area faith-based organization, but volunteers quickly realized that residents needed more than safe places to spend the night.

Since then, they have added case management, a daytime support center, and partnerships with area human services.

In 2014, BEDS adopted the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Housing First approach to homelessness and began providing evidence-based homelessness prevention and rapid rehousing programs.

Three years later, they doubled their service area after assuming management of a nearby south suburban shelter network.

The expansion brought in more clients with complex needs, including domestic violence survivors and people experiencing chronic homelessness (having been homeless for a year or more with a disability).

They began developing programs to help them regain and sustain housing.

Their first permanent supporting housing facility, Ogden Avenue Supportive Housing, opened in 2018, and they partnered with nearby housing agencies to lease 80 scattered site apartments for people with histories of chronic homelessness.

BEDS created transitional housing programs for clients with intensive needs, including families, domestic violence survivors, other victims of crime, and transition aged youth.

Working with AMITA Health and Pillars Community Health, BEDS began offering clinical health and behavioral healthcare services onsite in our shelters and daytime support centers.

The Linda Frances Sokol Summit Service Center will be the first homeless medical respite facility in Cook County and the second largest in Illinois.

Medical respite care is medical care for homeless persons who are too fragile to recover from an illness/injury on the streets, but their condition is not serious enough to have a prolonged stay in a hospital.

For people who struggle to meet basic human needs, the Summit Service Center will improve access to regional community-based and public resources. Together with long-standing and trusted partners, BEDS Plus will increase access to health care, mental health services and housing programs in a community at the heart of its service territory.

People who are homeless with severe, chronic health problems tend to rely on emergency rooms for medical treatment. When discharged from the hospital, they often return to emergency rooms with worsened conditions because they lack a place to live to coordinate follow-up care.

The Summit Service Center will provide up to 24 months of fixed site, interim housing for medically vulnerable homeless adults, allowing them to live with dignity while they stabilize and qualify for permanent housing.

BEDS Plus works to assist veterans through their outreach and housing programs. They work with the Zero Homelessness Initiative to help those who fall through the cracks to re-engage with services and other opportunities with Veteran Assistance Programs and other opportunities for assistance.

It is often difficult to navigate or know how to obtain assistance if someone is homeless and struggling. This is mostly due to limited access to resources such as computers, copy machines, and phones.

One of the clients BEDS was recently able to re-engage with through their street outreach program is Gerald.

Gerald served during Desert Storm.

He later struggled in life and his safety nets and family support broke apart. He has been homeless for nine years.

Gerald also has health issues that often find him in and out of hospitals.

A BEDS case manager re-engaged Gerald when he found him sleeping in a park recently.

With the coordination of services and assistance, he is on the road to housing through the BEDS transitional housing program, one-on-one case management, and coordination with Veterans Assistance.

Bands for BEDS

On October 28, BEDS Plus will be hosting “Bands for BEDS” fundraising event featuring live music from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

Opening the evening will be the incredible acoustic duo Cookie and the Crumb and headlined by the popular ‘80s cover band The Jolly Ringwalds.

Attendees can jam out to three decades of their favorite tunes and are invited to dress up as their favorite rocker or decade for their costume contest.

The event will take place at the Oak Lawn VFW Johnson-Phelps Post, where plenty of parking will be available.

Bring your family and friends and enjoy a retro photo booth, enter to win radical items in their silent auction and gather to help those in need in our community.

Your $35 ticket will assist many veterans, like Gerald, and continue BEDS mission to help vulnerable individuals stabilize their lives through housing and supportive services.

BEDS Plus Care helps people who are literally homeless, prevents homelessness and rehouses people who are homeless.

Since the onset of Covid, BEDS has tripled their Housing Loss Prevention services and doubled Emergency and Housing Service, and this Halloween weekend event is a great way to have fun, and help in the work BEDS provides to so many in our area.

To find out more about the event, contact Erin Molek at [email protected] or go directly to their website www.beds-plus.org to purchase tickets.

1 Comment

  1. Judy May on October 15, 2022 at 8:42 am

    This is so beneficial to many
    I am pleased to know that many will be restored through their every day lives
    Most important to me is OUR VETERANS who should always be #1 in our lives**”and•••
    Are not being over looked; and NEVER should be

    Hoping for a great outcome!
    Happy Halloween 🎃 everyone
    Happy



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