Introducing HOWIE: “Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”

This fall, the Heart of Illinois United Way and our Home for All Continuum of Care are partnering with Phoenix Community Development Services to provide a mobile hygiene unit serving individuals experiencing homelessness in Peoria, Tazewell, Woodford, and Fulton counties.

Everyone deserves the basic comfort and safety that comes from equal access to showers, bathrooms, and laundry facilities. Since the start of COVID-19, many individuals experiencing homelessness have had limited access to facilities with running water and basic hygiene supplies while being at a higher risk of developing hygiene related illnesses.

Central Illinois' new mobile hygiene unit called HOWIE ("Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.") will provide a fresh start for those in need.

Central Illinois’ new mobile hygiene unit, HOWIE: “Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”

Central Illinois’ new mobile hygiene unit called HOWIE (“Hygiene. On. Wheels. Independence. Empowered.”) will do more than provide a shower and clean clothes, it will provide a fresh start for those in need. By connecting people to critical resources through the Heart of Illinois 2-1-1 Information and Referral Service and the Phoenix Community Development Services Outreach Program, HOWIE will help move homeless individuals onto a path to stable housing through vital resources such as emergency shelter, case management, mental health services, workforce readiness support, and more.

“With the ongoing response to COVID-19, the Heart of Illinois United Way and our Home for All Continuum of Care recognizes the need for a long-term solution to address the need for easily accessible, safe, and free hygiene for our homeless population. The partnerships we have established to bring HOWIE to central Illinois are the perfect example of how our community was able to collaborate across multiple nonprofit and civic organizations to address a critical need,” Jennifer Zammuto, Heart of Illinois United Way President, said.

Starting late fall, the self-contained winterized HOWIE unit features two complete bathrooms with showers, laundry facilities, and a wheelchair lift. By assisting unsheltered individuals without access to these types of facilities, HOWIE will provide vital services on location throughout the community.

“Wherever there is need, HOWIE can be our first step in providing our population experiencing homelessness with a new level of care that empowers independence, fuels optimism, and improves health – not just physical health, but also self-esteem and mental health. By partnering with the Heart of Illinois United Way and the Home for All Continuum of Care, our outreach program will be able to provide critical support where it is needed most,” Christine Kahl, Phoenix Community Development Services President and CEO, said.

Funds for this mobile hygiene unit were raised from generous community donations from the Heart of Illinois United Way’s COVID-19 Fund. By collaborating and investing in HOWIE, the Heart of Illinois United Way is providing a long-term, sustainable solution to improve health and wellbeing.

Since 2016, the Home for All Continuum of Care has partnered with the Heart of Illinois United Way to build a sustainable collaboration of more than 50 cross-sector organizations aligning to end homelessness in central Illinois through support of individuals and families seeking permanent, safe and affordable housing.

Founded in 1921, the Heart of Illinois United Way brings together individuals from business, labor, government, health and human services to address education, financial stability, and health needs that are vital for building safe and stable lives. The Heart of Illinois United Way is committed to ensuring these fundamentals are available for all individuals in our community. For more information, visit hoiunitedway.org or follow us on social media @hoiunitedway.

For more information or media inquiries, please contact Gina Edwards VP of Marketing and Community Engagement at 309-674-5181, ext. 1234 or .

2020 Campaign Kickoff

2020 Campaign Kickoff Message

Check out this special message from our 2020 Campaign Chairs, Seth and Sylvia Davis along with recognition of our 2020 Pacesetter Campaigns (including how much we’ve raised to-date!), and the announcement of our 2020 Hoot Gibson Honoree.

Thank You to Our 2020 Campaign Pacesetters!

Advanced Medical Transport of Central Illinois
Big Brothers Big Sisters, Heart of Illinois
Boy Scouts of America – W.D. Boyce Council
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Peoria, Inc.
CASA of the Tenth Judicial Circuit
CEFCU
The Center for Prevention of Abuse
The Center for Youth & Family Solutions
Children’s Home Association of Illinois
Commerce Bank
Community Workshop & Training Center, Inc.
Crittenton Centers
Dream Center Peoria
Freedom House
Habitat for Humanity – Greater Peoria Area
Heart of Illinois United Way
Heartland Health Services
Hult Center for Healthy Living
Midwest Food Bank
Neighborhood House Association
Pearce Community Center
Phoenix Community Development Services
Prairie State Legal Services, Inc.
Quinn Johnston
River City Construction, LLC
RLI
Tazewell County Resource Centers, Inc.
UnityPoint Health – Central Illinois
Vonachen Group