Fortitude Programs

Fortitude exists to ease the burden of poverty and homelessness.  It began in January, 2017 as a homeless street outreach, providing needed items while building relationships within the homeless community.  Within these trusted relationships, we are able to help connect them to local resources in efforts to move them into permanent housing and/or more sustainable living situations. 

Street Outreach

Fortitude’s original program, the street outreach is designed to meet physical, social, and spiritual needs of the needy and homeless.  Teams of volunteers (and anyone 12 or older is welcome to volunteer!) bring items to locations in downtown and south Kankakee Tuesday and Thursday nights.  There, volunteers pass out needed items and food while also socializing with our guests.  For many, our interaction with them is one of the few times they are welcomed by name, treated with respect, and given caring human touch.  These outreach interactions are the “first contacts” with individuals, with many relationships leading to connections with other agencies and services that can move them out of desperate situations. 

PADS shelter

PADS stands for Public Action to Deliver Shelter and is a model of sheltering used highly successfully throughout the Chicago suburbs.  Most PADS shelters utilize a rotating site model, where 7 or more sites rotate to provide a shelter site on different days of a week. 

Fortitude opened a PADS shelter in January 2019.  The shelter program runs from October-April.

  • Shelter site open at 6:30 each night during winter months
  • Anyone is welcome as long as behavior is appropriate on site and not a registered sex offender
  • Paid staff and volunteers coordinate and supervise the site
  • A hot meal is provided at 7pm to all overnight guests
  • Mattresses with bedding are provided on the floor
  • Breakfast is served in the morning

Significant funds are needed to operate a shelter!  Volunteer opportunities are available, but you can support the shelter now!  Please consider becoming a financial partner in the Fortitude Shelter Program. 


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