Over 100 Quad Citians relocated from homeless shelter to hotels

Published: Mar. 29, 2020 at 3:21 PM CDT
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From families, schools, small businesses, and industries – the impact of the coronavirus has been ruthless across the board. Yet as every avenue wrestles with their own struggle. A Davenport organization is making sure a vulnerable population that is sometimes neglected during a time like this is taken care of.

The beds are stacked and the rooms are empty at Humility Homes and Services in Davenport at 1016 West 5th Street. An urgent response to the outbreak of the coronavirus.

“It has been so chaotic here, when we started moving the most vulnerable individuals, we were hearing such things as, are you going to let me die here? What are you doing?” said Ashley Velez, Executive Director of Humility Homes and Services.

According to the U.S. Interagency Council on homelessness, there are over 2,000 individuals homeless in the state of Iowa. The CDC says some of those that are homeless may have a greater risk of being infected with the COVID-19 virus.

So, the question begs what is being done in the Quad Cities to help flatten the curve and protect the many lives already fighting an uphill battle? Sunday morning, we spoke with Ashely Velez Executive Director of Humility Homes and Services. An organization that is making a major effort to provide homeless individuals the opportunity to social distance themselves.

“We were realizing that we weren’t helping to flatten the curve. As we don't have the ability here to social distance,” she said. “We were able to move all 109 individuals into hotel rooms. Where they are able to be self-isolation and not be around everybody,”

Two hotels, over 100 rooms, all for the next two weeks. A serious commitment that comes with a serious cost. Despite the shutdown of many valuable resources utilized by the homeless in the quad cities, humility homes are not alone in their efforts.

“So in talking to the other shelters, they all have the ability to do the social distancing because they aren't as large as we are. We've really come together to say, how do we do this and what do we do,” she said.

Along with the Salvation Army, Christian Care, and other non-profits, many hands have come together for this cause. Now that humility homes have emptied their shelter - it has given them the chance to take care of business long since overdue. Things like deep cleaning, painting, and sanitizing the rooms.

“We are seeing it as a little blessing in all of this. As this is probably the first time in ten years we have been able to do that because our shelter runs at capacity,” she said.

It all goes to show that as the world eyes an end to this global pandemic, the Quad Cities community comes together once again to provide an opportunity for a new beginning.

Velez also mentioned that while the homeless stay in hotels to social distance – they are also expected to follow the rules set at humility homeless shelter. She also stated that they have reached maximum capacity and are no longer accepting any new participants for the time being.