B&B housing for healthcare workers

Housing the Heroes | The Helpers Next Door

Apr 20, 2020  | 103

by Theresa Knight

For many years, Laurie Tigges worked as a nurse on the front lines at Des Moines metro hospitals. She recently left health care to join her family’s business — running a bed-and-breakfast in Adel and restoring homes in the area. She spoke to us about how her friends in health care inspired her to provide housing for first responders and medical workers. They can stay free of charge so they don’t expose their families to COVID-19.

What inspired you to provide housing for health care workers?
When the epidemic hit, we lost all our bed-and-breakfast reservations overnight. We call our main B&B Big Blue, but we also have the Rapids House that we usually use for overflow. We’ve had a lot of construction crews stay there. The Rapids House was empty and I thought it would be a great place for health care workers to stay if they want to avoid exposing their families to the virus. It occurred to me that no one is doing this locally. We decided to just see if there was interest and then figure out the logistics.

How much room do you have?
The house sleeps eight in four bedrooms with two beds each, and has two and a half bathrooms. Angela at Harmony Hall has offered to put up workers too. She’s ready to set up cots and provide kind of a “glamping experience.” Adel community members have stepped in to keep the kitchen stocked with donated groceries. Big Al’s BBQ and Adel Family Fun Center have offered to prepare meals. I’m also looking into installing blackout curtains so overnight workers can sleep during the day.

Are there other ways we can help our first responders?
It’s exciting to see what we can do when we come together. The other day I saw that Casey’s was having a deal on pizzas, so I got on social media to see if we could get help feeding our first responders. Before I knew it, I had enough money in my Venmo account to do it again. I think we’re all finding out we’re better people than we thought we were.

I still have friends working in health care and I feel like I need to help somewhere. Our EMTs, state troopers, police officers, doctors and nurses are scared, but they go to work anyway. It’s rough. Everything is fluid and changing and uncertain. But this is their job and helping is what they do. They shouldn’t have to pay for a hotel room to keep their families safe.

If you are a health care provider or first responder who needs a place to stay, contact Laurie on the Big Blue Bed and Breakfast Facebook page.