Thanks to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, Housing Action Illinois subgranted $20,000 to Freeport Area Church Cooperative to support the agency’s work providing interim housing and emergency shelter, short-term rental and mortgage assistance, and utility assistance, as well as emergency food and supplies.
In past years, anyone passing by the Freeport Area Church Cooperative’s Chicago Avenue Mission in June would find the emergency shelter’s doors closed.
The Mission usually operates overnight from October through May, shuttering for the warm, summer months. However, for the past couple of years, FACC has remained open during the summer months to offset the identified need. Now, due to the need for its 12 guests to safely shelter in place during the COVID-19 pandemic, FACC’s Chicago Avenue Mission is open 24/7. FACC’s shelter is the only homeless facility in Northwest Illinois, serving Stephenson, Jo Daviess, Ogle, and Carroll counties.
“Out this way, once you get past Rockford, and before you get to Dubuque, we are the only homeless shelter out here, so it’s pretty important for us to try and stay open,” former FACC Executive Director Dean Wright told the Rockford Register Star.
In response to COVID-19, Freeport Area Church Cooperative suspended food pantry operations and began delivering food to clients.
Thanks to the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, Housing Action Illinois has subgranted a total of $20,000 to FACC—one $10,000 subgrant for May and June, and a second for July and August—to cover increased operating costs. Keeping the shelter open involves feeding guests three meals a day and requires increased staffing. Since the start of the public health crisis, FACC has been staffing the shelter 24/7 as well, preparing meals, implementing health precautions and conducting additional sanitizing, as well as attending to the needs of the clients.
During May and June, FACC used the funding to provide 488 nights of shelter, short-term rental and mortgage assistance to four households, and utility assistance to two households, in addition to serving 183 meals. The organization anticipates serving 24 individuals with the second subgrant.