PEORIA (WEEK) — The resource center on Wisconsin Avenue in the East Bluff was opened in 2021 to help Peoria’s police department better engage with the community. The man behind the center said despite what he’s accomplished, they’re still trying to become a hub for the neighborhood.
“The vision was first and foremost to become a resource for the community,” said Christopher Johnson, PPD’s Focus Deterrence Project Manager. He said they’ve been able to accomplish that goal in many ways, like clearing barriers so teens can find work.
“Some of the young men, some of the individuals may have an issue with their drivers license or some tickets, things of that nature, we want to clear up so they can have their license, so they can move forward in their lives,” he added.
Other organizations said thanks to the center, they are reaching more people than they did before.
“We were getting information and people reaching out to us, ‘Hey I need food, I’m struggling with housing or transportation,’ or whatever that may be, it was being brought to our to our attention, we were able to serve them and help them get back on their feet, if that was what they were needing,” said Makinze Roman with Heartland Health.
PCAV, known for its boots on the ground approach to fighting violence, said the resource center has made the work the organization does, easier.
“People don’t know what’s in the community, so I’m able to speak with each head of each organization, and then put that in packet, and pass that along to people I come into contact with on a daily basis,” said Keith McDaniel, PCAV’s community outreach coordinator.
All that being said, Christopher Johnson still wants more for the center.
“If I could teach myself this year, I probably got a C, because there’s so much work out here…homes, comfortable homes, transportation issues resolved, even daycare situations,” said Johnson.
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