Rock Island Homeless shelter adapts to cold weather, COVID-19

The shelter says the number of people needing help since the pandemic began has doubled
Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 10:24 PM CST
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ROCK ISLAND, Ill. (KWQC) - Dewight Ward has been in the Christian Care shelter for over two months now. He said the hardest part of the pandemic has been waiting to progress to a more stable future.

“Just like everyone else you know we have to take precautions and there’s certain places you can’t go,” he said. “It’s just been slowing a lot of things down so it’s hard to be waiting on things between my life here but everybody got to wait, just the way it is right now.”

Christian Care Community Outreach Coordinator Jennifer Hill said that one of the biggest challenges isn’t helping people in positions like Ward’s, but people who are missing resources due to COVID.

“It’s a new population of folks that are in need to where they may still be having to pay the rent, pay the light and gas bill,” she said. “But then there’s not that money that’s leftover for food.”

“We definitely have seen an increase in the amount of meals we’ve put out, prior to COVID we were averaging 60 a day,” she said. “And now we’re close to a hundred a day.”

There’s also been an increase in the number of people from out of town.

“And lots of people have been displaced in bigger cities and they’re coming here thinking it’s a smaller community, maybe hopes of getting a better job,” she said.

Ward isn’t able to work due to disability, and is now waiting on section eight housing.

“I’m filing for my disability, can’t work, so I’m really trying to wait on that and it might be a while but that’s all I can do right now,” he said.

Although he may not know when he’s getting out of the shelter, he knows he’s headed in the right direction.

“Trying to get my life back on track, this place has helped me to do that, I have time here to stay where I can get some things in motion and work on my life,” he said.

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