Faced with less capacity at the shelter and social distancing rules due to the pandemic, Hesed House had to find a way to continue helping those who need it most.
“During the global pandemic, yes there’s a need for social distancing and those things and we completely agree and follow those,” said Joe Jackson. “But at the same time there’s just as much a need to shelter the most vulnerable out there so we kind of had a moment where we had to sit back and think, alright how do we this, how do we enact our mission in this world of COVID?”
Jackson, who spearheaded the project, and the rest of the Hesed House team found the answer across the street from their main building.
New Shelter Space
At the end of November, they renovated the 6,000 square foot space of a warehouse they own. And in just a couple of months, it became a new shelter space for up to 101 people.
On January 25, the male residents were able to move into the shelter’s expansion at 680 S River Street.
“Shelter brings hope. In order to start to focus on ending your homelessness you need a place to be able to rest, recoup to get things in order and then start to work on removing those barriers of homelessness,” said Jackson. “And if you don’t have that you’re just in pure survival mode everyday.”
Sleeping cots, a laundry room, and restrooms and showers are part of the new space.
Around $1.8 million of funding for the project came from DuPage and Kane counties.
Future plans for the new shelter include expanding the space further, adding a kitchen, and a dedicated space for eating and daytime programs.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.
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