The Dream Center Peoria announced today it's expanding its shelter hours from only offering a place to stay overnight to soon be open 24/7. As part of this new undertaking, officials there are relying on the expertise of people like Kristy Schofield who was once homeless, herself, and lived at the Dream Center with her children. But now, Schofield is back on her feet and works for the agency.
"Imagine the difference when you're able to be in one place, you have the phone, you have a computer, job applications, you have a case manager," she says, reflecting on her own experience.
And now other women who are trying to get back on track will find a place to stay to really focus on themselves. It's part of a collaborative effort to address homelessness in Peoria County, and it's getting help from other places partnering with the Dream Center Peoria, including the Salvation Army, South Side Office of Concern and the First United Methodist Church.
"We're not always sure what causes a family to be homeless. What we do know is those children are just where they are and that's part of their reality and they need to eat and to be educated. So we're trying to help in some way break that cycle of poverty," explains Rev. Dr. Tim Osment with the First United Methodist Church.
As for the expanded hours, the Dream Center doesn't have a way to fully cover that cost yet. But, Schofield says they hope to cover the funding through a mix of money from the United Way, a federal grant and private donations.
The expanded shelter hours start this coming Monday.