Peoria Summit of Hope Expo gives opportunities for ex-offenders to move forward

By WEEK Reporter

November 5, 2013 Updated Nov 5, 2013 at 7:47 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) organized the Summit of Hope on Tuesday at the Peoria Dream Center. The summit is an expo that features more than 60 community, local and governmental organizations that have come together as resources for ex-offender who are looking for a fresh start.

"There are somethings you're going to have to do to move forward. you have to be able to get a job and have a place to live," said Tom Shaer, IDOC Director of Communications. "We have representatives of state agencies and local representatives which tell the parolees all the basics tools to be more successful."

At the expo, ex-offenders were able to get some of the basic services from identification to health. Attendees could get a driver's license, flu shot, information on housing, emotional support and more.

Lashaun Halbrook who has one more year of parole, left with a driver's license, and now he is looking for an education.

"I want to go to school. This summit has a lot of info on many different program," Halbrook said. "It has had a big impact on me. I don't feel so alone...There are people willing to help."

This is just one of about 15 other expos that IDOC organizes throughout the state. Peoria is one of the larger expos. Last year, 1032 ex-offenders took advantage of what the expo had to offer.