Thanks to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, Housing Action Illinois subgranted $25,000 to Hope Haven of DeKalb County to support the agency’s work providing interim housing and emergency shelter.
Since the pandemic began, DeKalb County’s only homeless shelter has been operating with a smaller-than-normal staff.
After the state shelter-in-place order took effect, Hope Haven of DeKalb County lost staff members due to their worries about contracting COVID-19 at work. Hope Haven has offered hazard pay and extensive overtime to remaining staff.
Hope Haven has changed its procedures to prevent the virus’ spread. Staff clean the entire building every two hours. Staff and residents have their temperatures taken daily. At mealtimes, x’s marked on dining room benches indicate where clients can sit. Hope Haven also converted its classroom into a sleeping space to help clients stay at least six feet apart.
Social distancing at Hope Haven of DeKalb County.
But the pandemic doesn’t change Hope Haven’s directive. The organization’s mission is to “provide emergency shelter to homeless individuals and families, permanent housing for homeless individuals and families with a disability, and supportive services to help break the cycle of future homelessness.”
Thanks to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, Housing Action Illinois subgranted $25,000—$15,000 for May and June, and $10,000 for July and August—to Hope Haven of DeKalb County to support its work providing interim housing and emergency shelter. Hope Haven helped 92 people with the funding from the first subgrant, providing a total of 2,379 shelter nights and 7,137 meals. The agency hopes to serve another 92 individuals and families during July and August.
“All nonprofit agencies create budgets for the fiscal year, July through June, and there’s no way we could have foreseen this kind of crisis,” Executive Director Lesly Wicks told The Daily-Chronicle in May. “Now it’s the last two months of the fiscal year and we’re carrying a huge deficit due to COVID-19. We’ve been using operational funds to pay for the crisis, but we still have those operational expenses. Getting relief from [Housing Action] really helps us stabilize our budget and continue to serve the homeless.”