DEWITT — A local group is taking steps to establish a peer-run respite home in DeWitt.

Life Connections Peer Recovery Services, 222 E. 12th St., DeWitt, is currently in the process of developing a plan for the respite house. A peer respite program is a hospital diversion program providing space for individuals experiencing or trying to avoid an emotional or psychiatric crisis.

The space will be available for individuals to stay overnight for several days, allowing them to regain their footing and learn from the experience. The staff at the respite house will use wisdom gained from personal life experience and from formal training in order to support others, allowing for minimal disruption to the guest’s life. The respite house, when completed, will be located at a house behind the emergency room on Hospital Drive in DeWitt.

“DeWitt, a rural area, can really serve a good population that struggles to get to that accessibility,” Life Connections Executive Director Todd Noack said. “DeWitt is a very giving, caring community. And we’re going to serve not just DeWitt but the whole five-county region. Actually if somebody comes from Des Moines that fits the criteria, we’ll accept them. We don’t turn anybody away.”

Research completed at existing respite homes across the country documents that the homes save money and help people break free from cycles of repeated hospitalization, avoid or reduce the cost of other interventions and offer person-to-person support for fuller lives.

Life Connections Peer Recovery Services states the typical cost of a peer respite house is approximately $382 per day. Typical costs for inpatient care can exceed $1,200 per day. Life Connections currently offers a recovery center at United Methodist Church in DeWitt from 4 to 8 p.m. Thursday and Friday from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

“We have anything from support groups, one on one, activities, movies,” Noack said. “Just to work on the recovery. If they need an environment to come feel like they’re respected and that they matter, they can vent. That’s what they need sometimes.”

Genesis Health Systems is supporting Life Connections’ commitment to bring a peer respite house to DeWitt by providing the use of a three-bedroom house. The respite house will serve Cedar, Clinton, Jackson, Muscatine and Scott counties in Eastern Iowa. Life Connections is currently working to secure funding with the help of a representative from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Association. The timeline for renovation and opening of the house is yet to be determined.

“We don’t know the timeline,” Noack said. “It could be within six months. It could be eight months. Really it depends on this whole funding process and then showing Genesis and signing a contract.”

A representative of Life Connections can be reached by phone at (563) 726-3244 or by email at