A DuPage County non-profit is raising funds to purchase an entire hotel to convert it into a homeless shelter and resource center for those in need.
DuPage Pads needs another $1.5 million to purchase the Red Roof Inn off Butterfield Road in Downers Grove by March 2022.
Recently, the organization received approval from the county for $5 million in federal grants to turn the dream into reality.
April Redzic, president of DuPage Pads, says the organization is currently renting rooms across three hotel sites in the county, including the Red Roof Inn, but this will be the first property the organization will fully acquire for the project.
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Currently, 58 rooms are being rented out at the Downers Grove Red Roof Inn but if the purchase goes through, a total of 130 rooms will be available for those experiencing homelessness and victims of domestic violence.
"We have seen an 80% decrease in mental health situations. We’ve seen a 75% decrease in health-related illnesses," said Redzic. "This is our dream."
Redzic says there are plans to turn rooms into a "homework help" center, medical resource center and more. Currently, one of the hotel’s only suites has been turned into the client resource center offering food and clothing for current hotel-based clients.
As of Wednesday, 121 individuals were being assisted at the Downers Grove Red Roof Inn, but 245 are being housed at three hotel-based shelters across the county. This includes 91 kids, according to Redzic.
"This is a wonderful starting point to end homelessness, but our goal is to get them to that next step where they have their own space," said Redzic.
Wanda McDaye experienced chronic homelessness until she was given the option of a room at the Red Roof Inn. She says it’s the privacy that lets her focus on her future.
"I want to get back to a lot of things that I’ve always wanted to get to but I have been in such an unstable situation," said McDaye. "It means a whole lot because there’s so many things I want to finish studying."
Typical congregate facilities don’t offer private rooms or bathrooms for residents. Having an on-site resource center for career assistance, medical needs and more could help expedite the process of getting back on her feet.
If you want to learn more about DuPage Pads and the hotel-based project, click here.