JOLIET, IL — MorningStar Mission’s plan to purchase Joliet’s west side Quality Inn hotel on Larkin Avenue for an emergency west side homeless center won’t happen after all. Representatives from MorningStar Mission recently informed the city of Joliet’s planning staff that they are not going to move forward with the Quality Inn project.

In the alternative, MorningStar Mission may pursue expansion plans for its existing location on East Washington Street, according to Joliet City Manager Jim Capparelli. Joliet has two main homeless shelters and both are on the east side. Besides MorningStar Mission, Catholic Charities operates the Daybreak Shelter at 611 East Cass St.

Back in November, MorningStar Mission Director Sandi Perzee met with Mayor Bob O’Dekirk and Joliet’s previous City Manager Jim Hock to discuss her plans to purchase the Quality Inn & Suites on Larkin Avenue.

Perzee needed to obtain special use permits from the city before her project could materialize. In December, Joliet’s zoning board voted the project down in a unanimous decision. Purzee planned to use CARES Act funds distributed to Will County government to buy the Quality Inn.

Perzee had hoped to have her project voted up at the Joliet City Council meeting on Jan. 19, but the project never appeared on a Council agenda.

Perzee told Joliet Patch on Dec. 1 that she was hoping to put the Quality Inn to use starting Jan. 20. She had hoped to fill in the swimming pool and create a large commercial style kitchen as part of the renovations.

Since the coronavirus health crisis began one year ago, Joliet’s homeless population has soared, and many of the homeless people are now living on the city’s west side, close to the area of Larkin Avenue and McDonough Street.

“This was not a city idea,” O’Dekirk told Patch on Dec. 1. “This was done with the CARES Act funding … we heard about it from MorningStar Mission.”

Sandi Perzee is executive director of Joliet’s MorningStar Mission Ministries. Image via John Ferak/Patch

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