Homelessness in DuPage County
August 19, 2021

DuPagePads Plans to Repurpose Downers Grove Hotel into Interim Housing Center

To help end homelessness in DuPage County, one community organization will be repurposing a Downers Grove hotel into an interim housing center.

DuPagePads is eying a potential purchase of hotel property at 1113 Butterfield Rd. The agency intends to submit an application to DuPage County seeking one-time federal funds and other grants to help with property acquisition costs.

“Our operations over the past 18 months prove this model of interim accommodation is an efficient and effective way to break the cycle of homelessness at its onset,” DuPagePads president and CEO April Redzic said in a press release. “Making this service offering permanent will allow us to continue in our goal that no child will have to live out of a car with their family in DuPage County.”

Change in Operations Highlighted

The pandemic prompted DuPagePads to reimagine the way its services are delivered. For example, the organization turned to provide a hotel model of interim housing whereby individuals in need were granted temporary access to a secure room at several area hotels, including two in Downers Grove.

The agency has been using the hotel property on Butterfield Road to carry out its mission since the start of the pandemic. Agency leaders would like the facility to continue helping the organization to navigate the ongoing pandemic and future public health crises.

Program Update

The interim housing program has helped assist more than 430 individuals, including 130 children, to date.

DuPagePads is realizing that there are a number of advantages from an operations standpoint to establishing an interim housing center. They include an 80% reduction in mental health incidents and requests for assistance, a 75% reduction in the spread of health conditions such as flu, respiratory illness or other physical health issues, and a 500% increase in case support services that are utilized by clients.

Vision and Goals

DuPagePads intends to prioritize families with children, individuals with mobility issues and those leaving domestic violence situations when assigning available rooms. While facilities of this type often carry a stigma for lacking privacy, stability and space for families to call their own, this will not be the case at the new repurposed facility. It will help close the gap, enabling individuals to move ahead toward securing more permanent shelter.

“While we are excited about this transformational opportunity for our agency, we are most grateful for what this Interim Housing Center will mean for the clients and families we serve,” Redzic said in a press release. “This past fall, we began watching mothers with infants come to our doors with nowhere to go, needing a safe place during the most difficult moment in their lives. This model of interim housing not only facilitates better outcomes for clients at lower overall social and economic costs but will truly improve the quality of life for families in our care.”

Why Now?

Over its 40-year history, DuPagePads has fostered relationships with more than 160 congregations and partnered with more than 50 health, legal and social service agencies. The organization draws in more than 4,000 individuals to volunteer each year.

“We are in a position to take advantage of this opportunity because of the tremendous partners and supporters who have been such a part of our work for so long—both in DuPage County and in Downers Grove. We are so thankful for our partners, volunteers, and donors,” Redzic said in a press release.

What to Expect

The hotel model of interim housing allows clients and their families to stay at the center for as little as a few hours or as many as several weeks until more permanent shelter is secured. During their stay, individuals gain access to a variety of resources and supports, including casework and regular contact with DuPagePads staff. In order to check-in, individuals must be pre-qualified at another facility.

Moving Forward

A tentative agreement has already been reached between the property owners and DuPagePads, but the acquisition of the hotel hinges on approvals and funding.

DuPagePads has a goal to raise an additional $1.5 million to help the organization move ahead with the purchase, transformation and startup costs.

Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.

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