Rhonda’s House will temporarily close its doors Monday until at least April 30 in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Life Connections Executive Director Todd Noack confirmed the closure Friday.
Rhonda’s House is a peer respite house – the only peer respite house in the state – and has three bedrooms where approved visitors needing mental health assistance stay anywhere from 24 hours to seven days. Noack said visitors generally get referred to the house, at which time staff proceeds with the prescreening process.
He said they are transitioning to a 24-hour peer respite support line for individuals needing support for anxiety, depression, isolation, resources or services. Calls are free for anyone in the Eastern Iowa Mental Health Region, which consists of Clinton, Cedar, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties. Noack said the 24-hour respite support line will go in effect at 8 a.m. Monday.
“People can call 24 hours a day,” Noack said. “Talk to a peer specialist. Get resources. Let them know of other services. For now, we have to keep our staff safe and keep guests safe. We’ve gone this far but I know it’s time. We have to think about the safety of others.”
Noack said they will revisit the status of the peer respite house the week before April 30, when they will make a decision on whether to reopen the house or extend the transition.
Noack said even with the respite house open the last few weeks, they have been taking steps to ensure the safety of staff and visitors. He said the screening process intensified. He said they also took extreme steps to disinfect things in the house. Noack said social distancing was difficult with the size of the house and amount of people there.
Rhonda’s House is located at 1131 Hospital Drive, DeWitt. The site opened in October 2018.
John Rohlf is a Clinton Herald staff writer.