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Park Ridge Pastor Faces Resistance to Homeless Shelter

By Margaret Lyons in News on Jul 21, 2008 8:36PM

2008_7_21.stpauls.jpgFather Carl Morello, the priest at St. Paul of the Cross in Park Ridge, recently suggested turning the school's gymnasium into shelter on Sunday nights, from October through April, as part of the PADS ("public action to deliver shelter") program, a network of faith-based shelters throughout Cook County. And his plan hasn't gone over so well.

...Parents like Paul Chevlin, an assistant state's attorney, don't like the idea of running a shelter so close to their parish school.

"What if contraband is left on school grounds?" asked Chevlin, whose daughter attends the school and is leading a parent group opposed to the plan. "What if a guy has a knife and ditches it in the bushes by the school and a little kid finds it? Or a hypodermic needle?"

Others argue that there aren't any homeless people on Park Ridge, so there's no point in having a shelter.

PADS screens all its clients, all of whom submit to a criminal background check and have to carry PADS ID to use the shelters. Program officials say that hasn't happened at any of the other shelters in the last 25 years.

This reminds us of our favorite line from the Gospel, "Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of cleanest, nicest, most attractive of my brethren, at the least possible expense or inconvenience to yourselves, ye have done it unto me." Amen. [Pioneer Press, Pioneer Press, St. Paul's PADS Q&A, Trib]