Jason Sommerfeldt, senior pastor, Central Baptist Church says they are opening the church on the corner of Broadway and 7th Street in Quincy, for those who need a place to keep warm Tuesday night, January, 29. Those who are homeless, or can’t heat their homes sufficiently are welcome. The hours are from 8 pm. to 8 am. There are limited supplies of bedding, so people are encouraged to bring their own pillows and blankets. The address is 321 N. 7th Street, Quincy. Anyone who needs transportation to the church should call 217-222-1310. If anyone can loan cots or sleeping pads, it would be greatly appreciated.
As the temperatures dip below freezing the homeless, and those who may not have adequate heating in their dwellings may seek warmth at warming centers at the following locations.
The Salvation Army Family Services building located at 501 Broadway St., Quincy Illinois, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center located at 405 Vermont Street in Quincy Illinois,
Monday through Friday from 5 a.m. until 10 p.m.
Saturday 7 a.m. until 8 p.m.
Sunday 9 a.m. until 6 pm.
Catholic Charities located at 620 Maine St. in Quincy
Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until noon and 1 p.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Some of the homeless population in Quincy, may be turned away from existing limited emergency shelters overnight because of lack of space, disqualifications, personal preferences, or voucher funding shortages. When this occurs those individuals can be left in the severe cold weather unexpectedly. They will often find shelter in abandoned buildings around Quincy, and nearby wooded areas. Obviously these are all dangerous options. It leaves some people vulnerable to cold weather injuries and crimes ranging from robbery to assault. Based on my experiences with this population, an expansion of emergency shelter opportunities is necessary. Meanwhile, it is my hope a church, civic group, or business in Quincy’s District, or in the area of N. 5th Street and Chestnut might consider making an existing facility available to those who are not successful “couch surfing” for one reason or another.
Tom, homeless, sits outside of a local gas station in Quincy, Sunday evening, Jan., 13, 2109. He said, after being asked to leave a Quincy emergency shelter for quarreling with a roommate, he sought refuge at another shelter in town. Tom said, after being allowed to stay on a couch there one night, the board of directors decided he couldn’t stay there because of “liability concerns” related to the seizures he suffers.
“I was keeping something going until just the other day, but as of today I’m homeless. At age 8, I was a ward of the State of Missouri. My mom didn’t want her kids. I have no family. I can’t work while applying for Social Security insurance, because of the seizures. It’s a catch-22. I’ve filed for SSI, but haven’t been approved yet, and I can’t work, while applying,” Tom said. “At age 50, I never thought I’d be living outside.”
Tom isn’t the only homeless person in Quincy trying to do the best they can without appropriate shelter. There is a network of various “hides” around town for those left in the cold. Many are successful in finding friends to stay with in freezing weather, but not all. There aren’t many options in Quincy for emergency shelter. It’s often a crap shoot as to who manages to get out of the cold and who doesn’t.
After attending a Quincy Illinois Poverty Project talk at the Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing & Health Sciences in November, 2018, Andrea Tangerose, who is also a bartender at North End Tavern in Quincy, asked patrons to bring in hats, gloves or toiletry items in an effort to help those in need. Dozens of items ranging from gloves, knit hats, warm socks, childrens toys, and various personal hygiene items were collected. “Thank you to those who brought in donations,” Andrea said. “If we all work together as a community, we may not end all poverty, but at least we can make some difference in the area around us."
The much appreciated items will be delivered to Bill Calkins, Quincy Police Department patrol officer, who will distribute the individually packaged goods to interested patrol officers, providing them with the opportunity to use their own discretion, when handing out the packages to those who are disadvantaged within their patrol beats.
Calkins initiated the idea after learning individuals in the community were contacting the The Quincy Illinois Poverty Project, inquiring how they might receive help, or guidance in delivering items directly to those in need. Calkins explained how such an opportunity can benefit both the community and the police as an additional way of building positive police and community relationships. “It’s a win, win situation for everybody,” Calkins said.
The Quincy Illinois Poverty Project appreciates the many inquiries it receives, as I am interested in helping direct your donation items to various local programs I’ve identified as having a proven track record based on my years of working closely with the homeless and disadvantaged in Quincy.
It is my hope, we will all continue to find creative, progressive ways to help those who are struggling in our community. Thank you Andrea, and to all those who give of themselves to help others. Thank you for the inspiration you’ve provided me and many others by this simple yet incredibly important act of caring. For those who are powerless and often forgotten, these care packages will restore a measure of human dignity, so many in our community struggle to hold on to. Again, Thank you.
Director, Quincy Illinois Poverty Project
By Kay Phillips -
It’s Christmas. And there is no room in the Inn..... not for Becky, not for her two boys, not until today. After being left alone to manage all the finances, her house was lost and they had no where to go. It’s hard times that no one expects or thinks will happen to them, but many experience going over the edge and needing help from fellow humans. It gives the rest of us a chance to outflow some love, give some hope, connect with goodness. Becky has a lovely family, one very sick boy in a wheelchair and one teenager trying to be a kid and get through 10th grade, so someday he can join the Air Force and serve his country.
They ended up all together in one room at the Comfort Inn... day to day, from donations from kindly people. With the help of Steve at the Quincy Illinois Poverty Project and her dear friend Jenn, dots were connected to find the rest of us to lend a helping hand.
Today my daughter Elizabeth Boyer offered her rental house to them for the winter until they can find something in the spring. They need to recoup and heal and catch their breath. Thank you Elizabeth for your generosity and compassion and for deciding you don’t have to sell this house quite yet. We have all been filling in the holes with food, encouragement, searching, and making connections.
I can say that QUINCY does have some holes that we need to work on in the future when it comes to the disabled and those in desperate need. But the people in Quincy always rise to help, and Steve has done a great job of finding the stories and raising awareness so we can do just that. St Johns Anglican Church, with Father Patrick Smith in the lead, has shared Becky’s story with his congregation and hopefully more connections will be made for her as she continues her search for a permanent home.
There was much gratitude and sparkly feelings today, talk of some Christmas lights and Christmas Miracles and angels. We wish for Becky and kids a new year of all things bright and hopeful, of a new beginning for her family.
This Christmas, don’t forget those who are suffering. You don’t have to look far.
An Opportunity To Provide Becky and Sons With Needed Assistance
I think all the Christmas lights open our hearts just a little bit more. If you want to share some love with Becky and her sweet boys she could think of gift cards for gas or Walmart... where there is some of everything including medical supplies, or maybe you have a service that could help her? We need some moving help....Maybe a plate of cookies for some hungry boys?
Or just some kind and hopeful words in a Christmas card?
Any gift is deeply felt and appreciated .
I’m happy to collect your good wishes or gifts for Becky and get them to her, as she
cares for her son and moves to the new location here in Quincy.
This is Kay Phillips, Christmas Helper
You can find me at
I’m on Facebook too
We Lost Our Home And Our Independence
In August of 2018, Becky and her two children lost their home. “When my husband left, we lost our house. We lost our insurance. We lost our independence. My kids are suffering but we’ll come out of this. It’s just hard right now. It’s just a little difficult to take care of two kids and yourself when you don't have anything.” Becky says she has an income as the caretaker for her son who is a paraplegic, but she may have lost that benefit this month due to being homeless. “It’s going to get a lot harder now. We had a little money, but now we’re down to pennies.” Struggling to Find Shelter For more than two weeks, Becky and her family have been relying on help from friends and the generosity of strangers who have been paying for their motel room. Becky says she went to the Salvation Army on a recent Friday but the person who handles her type of situation wasn’t there, so she returned the following Monday. “I went back on that Monday and we were talking. They were really trying to help me. They were helping me look for houses. They got me a couple of them, but one of them was too small and the other one just, well actually it was small too. The rooms were too small. My son is a paraplegic, so he has a lot of equipment, so we have to have room.”
Struggling to Find Shelter
For more than two weeks, Becky and her family have been relying on help from friends and the generosity of strangers who have been paying for their motel room. Becky says she went to the Salvation Army on a recent Friday but the person who handles her type of situation wasn’t there, so she returned the following Monday. “I went back on that Monday and we were talking. They were really trying to help me. They were helping me look for houses. They got me a couple of them, but one of them was too small and the other one just, well actually it was small too. The rooms were too small. My son is a paraplegic, so he has a lot of equipment, so we have to have room.”
Funding Shortages are Commonplace
Meanwhile, Becky’s son was hospitalized on Thanksgiving. She learned that same week that the Salvation Army ran out of the funds they planned to provide her if she could find a rental house. Becky says she was running around trying to get life-saving medicine for her son while trying to find a house to lease or rent. “At the end of the week, my son was in the hospital because he had an infection and he had no medicine. I was running around trying to find something that we couldn't find. And I went back to Salvation Army and they said that they were out of funds, but when they got them they would call.”
Short stay at the Welcome Inn
Running out of money and options, Becky found what she saw as a bargain, the Welcome Inn in Quincy. “I’m running out of money, so I tried to go the cheap way. I went down to the Welcome Inn and tried to get a room for us and I went ahead and paid them before I looked at the rooms. It wasn't very nice. It wasn't very pleasant. First of all, before you get to the elevator, there was trash everywhere. Get to the room and it's just disgusting. It's just disgusting. It was just dirty, filthy, nasty. I started to pick up things, but then I decided to go get some gloves and as I went outside the manager or whoever he was I turned to him and I asked him if I could use a broom and he said, "No, we don't let people use our brooms because we never get them back." And I looked at him, I'm like, "Really? You're going to tell somebody who just paid you for a week that they can't use a broom?" Becky’s son, who is paraplegic, and has other medical complications, cannot possibly stay in a room, with black mold, a cockroach infestation, and general filth.
These pictures depict the filth, black mold, and cockroach infestation Becky said she found when she entered the room she paid for at the Welcome Inn in Quincy.
“So I left and went and bought me a broom and cleaning supplies and I went in there for three and a half hours and cleaned just one area. And I called my friend, Jennifer, and had her come take pictures because I just couldn't take it. So, I decided I was going to sit down for a minute and roaches fell from the ceiling. That’s all it took. I was out the door. Went down and asked for our money. And he said, "No, we don't have it. There's no refund." So this is where we're at.” I'm out $350 and I have two kids I have to support."
Shortages of Emergency Funds are Commonplace
"On Monday, Nov. 26th, I went back to Salvation Army to see if they could help me with the house still and asked them if they had found any. They hadn't found any and I hadn't found any. She told me at that time that there was no more funds but that she would call me as soon as there was funds.”
Many Requirements Create Barriers For Help in Emergency Situations
Becky sought help from several other agencies with varied results. “I went to Two Rivers and they told me that they could help me too, but I had to get some birth certificates and Social Security cards.” It’s now Dec. 5, 2018, and Becky and her family have received no help with lodging from social service agencies in Quincy.
Medical and Housing Solutions are Still out of Reach
“My son, Skyler, on Thanksgiving, I took him in because I thought he broke his foot. He didn't break his foot. He had an infection and a UTI (urinary tract infection) and he didn't have medicine so therefore he was running fevers and having seizures or passing out. So he went in, we got into the emergency room and he flatlined. They called code blue on him because he quit breathing. I'm sorry. Oh, my God,” Becky sobbed.
Sitting on the edge of the motel room bed, Becky breaks down in tears, “He just got out of the hospital today and here we are. Sorry, my son is a paraplegic and it takes us a minute to do things. It's a task from day-to-day for both of them. Right now, we just do day-by-day because we don't know what's next. I'm sorry boys. I just need help for my boys right now.”
Here's a great example of what a group of caring souls were able to accomplish. It's a big deal, because much needed toiletry items are hard to come by at many food pantries. Here's a word from Gina Bergman:
"I am overwhelmed by the amount our youth group collected for the FOUND toiletries drive. Thank you to all who donated items. Our 7th- 9th grade FOUND students were given a challenge to help those in our community who do not have basic items like shampoo, soap and toothpaste. In 2 weeks, we collected 1,528 items PLUS an additional several hundred travel size items and donated them to Ladies of Charity to give to those in need.
Thank you to Steve Bohnstedt for making all of us aware of the Quincy IL Poverty Project and suggesting this idea to our group.
Thank you to all the families who donated and from our friends at Blessed Sacrament and St. Dominic who also collected items for us!
Pictures are of all donated items and a few of our 7th graders that helped me sort this morning. Ladies of Charity was very grateful for all donations."
“Some Quincy residents are living with holes in walls and roach infestations.
Poverty is real and according to the U.S. Census Bureau 12 point 8 percent of people Adams County are living in poverty.
Although, many work and pay rent they still live in subpar housing because the city doesn’t have a rental inspection program and without support from city council landlords are not being held accountable.”
WGEM’s Drew Brown will be Digging Deeper into the issue of dangerous rentals, Thursday on WGEM News at Ten.
This situation is widespread. If you would like more info, or would like to help make a proactive rental occupancy inspection a reality, please send you email information to: firstname.lastname@example.org