The alternate COVID-19 housing site at the Four Points by Sheraton hotel in downtown Peoria has quietly reopened in time for winter.
Adam Duvall is the housing navigator for Advocates for Access. He's subcontracted with the Heart of Illinois Continuum of Care to manage referrals to the site that reopened last month after a summer lull in COVID-19 cases.
"I could be living somewhere where my immediate family might have underlying health conditions," Duvall said. "If I was exposed or positive, I would be able to go to Four Points."
The hotel first opened as an alternate housing site back in April. Duvall stressed the hotel is not an alternate shelter for those experiencing housing insecurity in Peoria County, but it may house at-risk clients from shelters.
"This is strictly for COVID-19 positive or exposed. There is some vulnerability, people who were in a shelter where there may be an outbreak, and they need relief," Duvall said. "But the maximum stay is 14 days."
During the last wave, food for those in isolation was provided by the hotel's restaurant. But Gov. JB Pritzker's Tier 3 mitigations led to its shutdown. That means the Salvation Army is now providing meals for those in isolation in the hotel.
"The Salvation Army, like always, stepped up to the plate and really knocked it out of the park with their food service, and really working together with us, the Continuum of Care, United Way, and Peoria City/County Health Department," said Duvall.
Currently, the Continuum of Care's Kate Green said only one person affected by COVID is temporarily housed at Four Points, but Duvall said there is space to accommodate more as needed.
Duvall said the only physical contact clients have during their two weeks of isolation are check-ins with the Heartland Health Services medical director, Dr. Gregg Stoner.
"I have a hard time imagining how hard it may be for some of those folks in isolation in a hotel--and they can't leave," he said.
People in need of a place to isolate due to COVID-19 exposure or illness within Peoria County are referred through various agencies or shelters.
Duvall said he also receives calls from those seeking assistance in Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties, but they can't be housed at Four Points due to the county-specific structuring of the grant that funds that site. He advises people in those communities to call their county health department for more information on alternate housing resources.
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