PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The City of Peoria is in the early stages of planning a collaborative community task force to handle a potential influx of immigrants shipped from the southern border.

Nearly 1,000 immigrants have arrived by bus to Illinois, mostly in Chicago.

“Nothing has been indicated to us that anything imminent is coming to Peoria, but if a bus shows up to the city of Peoria, regardless of anything else, we want to be able to help and provide services,” said Joe Dulin, Peoria’s community development director.

City officials met once with homeless service providers, the health department, and other community stakeholders to determine the best plan for Peoria.

“The discussions on the city level have been specifically around best practices with emergency planning,” said Dulin.

He said the city is modeling preparations after their COVID-19 pandemic playbook, with the goal being overprepared.

“The more planning you can do upfront, the better prepared you are to handle any situation. That’s the stage we’re at right now,” said Dulin.

Dulin said Peoria is rich with caring nonprofit organizations willing to step up if needed.

“Peoria is a very compassionate community in situations like this. We have fantastic expertise in our community of dealing with situations where people might be experiencing homelessness and need some help,” he said.

Dulin said communication between community stakeholders and willingness to ask for help will go a long way.

“Everyone has a specific expertise in situations like this, and it just helps to have them at the table discussing what a plan would look like and just being prepared for anything that comes up,” he said.

Dulin said the group is meeting again next week.