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Religious order pays hotel bills for Chicago’s homeless

HOMELESS
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The Clerics of St. Viator have donated more than $60,000 to help protect those who have nowhere to isolate.

Cities all over the world are utilizing free hotel space to help accommodate those who have no home in which they can isolate. Now, Chicago joins them, as a religious order has laid down $63,000 in funding to shelter the homeless for three weeks.

Perry West of Catholic News Agency reports that the Clerics of St. Viator partnered with the non-profit agency Journeys: The Road Home to house more than 90 people who are without residence. In Chicago, where more than 1,800 cases of the novel virus have occurred, this is addressing an urgent concern of the homeless population.

Father Daniel Hall, the provincial superior for the Clerics of St. Viator, praised the efforts of the Journeys workers, stating that without their valuable human resources, the Clerics’ monetary donation would not have done nearly as much. He urged all charitable souls to take part in their mission:

“It is my hope that you join us in this commitment to care for our most vulnerable sisters and brothers during this crisis.”

Those who live on the streets are at much greater risk of infection, as they do not have private quarters where they can quarantine themselves. To make matters more desperate, many of the facilities that serve those in desperate need have shut down, as the majority of their workers are elderly and also at great risk of contracting the virus.

Suzanne Ploger, Journeys’ director of development, told West:

“If you don’t have a home to shelter in place, where are you supposed to be? That’s where we were struggling with how we can provide the best services to our clients and keep them safe as well as be able to keep our staff and our volunteers healthy, too.”

She went on to note that her organization has about 100 people who they regularly serve and these are prioritized, but the number could grow in the weeks to come. Each person placed in a hotel room will be allowed to stay for three weeks under current funding, but they expect this duration to increase.

The organization is also bringing food to the hotel guests, rather than paying hotel rates for meals. This requires the preparations and packaging of meals in their food pantry, as well as daily deliveries to the hotel. Journeys is not stopping there, however, as they intend to keep up other services, such as their clothing closet, mail services, and emergency case management, in limited capacities.

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