Nonprofits invest in mobile units to help homeless people


PEORIA (HOI) – Local nonprofit organizations are coming together to help the homeless population of Peoria.

On Monday, the Dream Center installed its new mobile units outside of JOLT Harm Reduction to provide resources to the underserved population.

The purpose of the Dream Center has always been to serve people, but the organization knew they would be more effective if they weren’t stuck in one place. So now they have become mobile.

“The guests we see coming to the Dream Center have to come a long way or get on buses so that we can now go to the people who need it,” said DCP Executive Director Andy King.

King says he knew it would be a difficult task to accomplish with the Dream Center alone.

“That’s when we started collaborating to serve these underserved populations in Peoria,” said Chris Schaffner, program director for JOLT Harm Reduction.

The Dream Center, Jolt and Zion Coffee worked together to raise funds for three mobile units. One has showers, another has washing machines, the third is a hair salon. Zion Coffee has raised $ 25,000 on its own to fund the mobile units.

“Some people gave up on a latte and gave it $ 5. Some, I got checks for up to $ 3,000, $ 4,000 from customers who think Zion is a place of community that goes to- beyond just serving coffee, ”Zion said. said owner Banu Hatfield.

Monday’s pop-up site was also outfitted with teams providing food, clothing and vaccines to those in need. Andrea Oliver lives homelessness in Peoria. She says being able to do the laundry, have her hair cut and eat in there saves her money.

“It means a lot to a lot of us because when you don’t have a place to stay, you don’t have a place to go, they help me,” Oliver said.

“It takes a village, right? So the longer we are at the table, all sharing the same desire, the same mission and the same values ​​to help our community become the best version of itself, you can’t ask for better than that, “Schaffner said.

Since Dream Center Mobile is new, they are still perfecting the process.
For now, the units will release twice a month, but they hope to ramp up twice a week or more.

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