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Services Interrupted For Some Families Who Were Once Homeless


WNIJ recently aired a storyabout how one northern Illinois homeless center is taking precautions to keep its guests safe from COVID-19 but this pandemic is affecting some individuals who were homeless. 

Shelter Care Ministries in Rockford offers housing for homeless families with minor children. The families are placed in scattered off-site apartments.

Sarah Parker-Scanlon is the executive director of the organization. She said COVID-19 has made contact with families very limited. Shelter Care Ministries isn’t making home visits or providing much needed transportation services.   

“There’s actually a lot of driving that goes on. We’ll pick someone up and drive them to the public aid office to help them get their cash assistance benefits. So that’s something that I think is difficult for the staff not to be able to do,” she said.

She said the organization has had to find ways to manage other things.

“It’s text messaging, email and knocking on someone’s door putting something down that we're leaving for them. Whether it’s food or a gas voucher or something of that nature. And then the staff step back so there isn’t the same type of contact that we used to have,” she said.

Parker-Scanlon said in spite of the changes, she still sees a bright side. She explained that the scattered site apartments are providing a type of safety that clients wouldn’t normally have in an on-site group shelter.

Parker-Scanlon said Shelter Care Ministries continues to offer a variety of programs. Some include Emergency and Transitional housing, Permanent Supportive Housing and Rapid Rehousing.