DuPagePads is looking to get creative in its mission to help those facing homelessness by moving ahead with the purchase and conversion of a hotel into an interim shelter facility.
Once renovated, the Red Roof Inn located at 1113 Butterfield Road in Downers Grove will allow the Wheaton-based nonprofit to reimagine how services are delivered.
“The interim housing center is going to put us at 130 rooms,” DuPagePads President and CEO April Redzic said. “It will allow us to have one location with additional services on site.”
Last week the DuPage County Board authorized an agreement with DuPagePads to extend $5 million toward the purchase of the hotel. The total cost to purchase the hotel is $7 million, Redzic said. DuPagePads is currently raising money to fund part of the project’s remaining cost.
Redzic noted the funding will go a long way to addressing homelessness in DuPage County.
“This gets us really, really close to our goal for the purchase, and I think really exhibits the kindness and compassion that DuPage County has for people who are vulnerable in the community,” she said.
The demand for DuPagePads services have grown during the pandemic, which Redzic said shows how invaluable a community resource an interim shelter facility will be.
“Pre-pandemic in the depths of winter, we had 150 people sleeping safe with us each night,” she said. “Right now, we have almost 250 people in hotel-based shelter and 91 of them are children as of last night.”
Since the pandemic started, clients of DuPagePads have been staying in one of 115 rooms across three hotels in the county.
Redzic said they’ve found the hotel setting to be successful as it offers a level of compassion and dignity that a congregate setting may not.
Each room, for example, will have its own private shower rather than a communal bathroom that several clients can use. And the hotel’s proximity to public transportation is an added bonus.
Redzic said she believes people at times may feel more comfortable accessing shelter services at a hotel, which may actually create a more accurate picture of homelessness in DuPage County.
Project leaders hope the compassionate environment that is created in a hotel setting will continue to make dent on homelessness in the county, even when the building is repurposed.
“We’ve seen really great output in terms of the wellness of our clients when they are staying in interim housing in this model,” Redzic said.
The interim housing facility is expected to begin housing and serving clients in the spring of 2022.
Naperville News 17’s Megann Horstead reports.
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