I’d like to begin the training with a brief introduction to our organization. Fortitude began in January, 2017 as a weekly homeless street outreach. Research shows that homeless individuals tend to reflect signs of traumatized individuals—that while homelessness itself is a traumatic event, a very high percentage of homeless individuals have also experienced a high amount of additional trauma through their lives. We will talk more about trauma in a later module. One of the common effects of trauma is distrust, so many homeless aren’t connecting with service providers in the area. Our goal was to help bridge the gap between those in need and the services available to help them. We needed to FIRST develop a trusting relationship with them. Out of that came the realization that we would need to come to them, to meet them where they were at—on the streets.
By the spring of 2018, we had built significant relationships and trust within the homeless community of Kankakee County, and because of that, we knew there was a significant need for emergency overnight sheltering in the community. Through much thought, prayer, and research, Fortitude decided to address that need and open a PADS (Public Action to Deliver Shelter) shelter in January, 2019.
Fortitude also operates one Transitional Housing unit for 2-4 men and we continue to run a street outreach every Thursday night. We also operate a thrift store called Bargains & Treasures at 396 N. Kennedy Drive.