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Rockford Overnight Café to open Monday

The Rockford Overnight Café was launched in the gym at SecondFirst Church with the premise of keeping unhoused people safe during sub-zero nights.
Open sign at Metro Diner
Open sign at Metro Diner(WTVY News 4)
Published: Jan. 18, 2021 at 10:21 AM CST
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - The Rockford Overnight Café will open Monday night to a limited number of guests.

The café at 318 N. Church St. will be open at 8 p.m.

“We are able to initially open the café because we have received a grant from the Community Foundation. However, we are seeking more funding to keep it open until March 1,” according to SecondFirst Church.

In 2019, the pilot program of the Rockford Overnight Café was launched in the gym at SecondFirst Church with the premise of keeping unhoused people safe during sub-zero nights. At the Overnight Café, unhoused guests (and others needing warmth) are met with food, clothing, along with shower and laundry facilities. They spend the night playing cards, watching movies and talking to others.

“Guests are treated with respect throughout their stay in an effort to restore their dignity and build rapport. Winter of 2020, the Rockford Overnight Café was open nightly for ten weeks and certainly helped keep people from being injured or even dying in frigid temperatures,” according to SecondFirst Church.

The church says there is a group of people who are shelter resistant and even hotel resistant due to mental illness and many other factors.

“Due to COVID-19 and the terrific efforts of both the City of Rockford and the Rescue Mission, we thought (hoped!) that we would not have to operate the Rockford Overnight Café. But on Monday, Dec. 21, Carpenter’s Place took a survey of their guests and the results said otherwise. Twenty! people had slept out in the cold in conditions not suitable for human habitation. The Rockford Overnight Café will serve as a stepping stone into established social service programs throughout the region,” according to SecondFirst Church.

SecondFirst Church has received a $16,000 grant for the Rockford Overnight Café. The grant was awarded by the Margaret K. Aldeen Christian Ministry Fund of the Community Foundation of Northern Illinois’ Community Grants Program.

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