Homeless shelter expansion plans pass first hurdle

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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- The Willis Dady Shelter in Cedar Rapids is getting closer to launching a fund raising campaign for a big homeless shelter expansion.

And the non profit group cleared a first hurdle on Tuesday with a request for a zoning change.

The plan involves more than doubling the current space at the shelter on 4th Avenue S.E. And the first step passed successfully on Tuesday was getting the Cedar Rapids City Council to approve the first reading of a rezoning request.

Shelter leaders say the project would increase the space available for the homeless from about 7,500 square feet to more than 17,000. The project is expected to cost about $3-million dollars.

Shelter executive director Phoebe Trepp says the plan is to pass the rezoning issue first before launching a fund raising drive.

"This is a substantial issue for us. We've never done a big fund raising project like this. It'll be the first time in our history and we turn 30 years old this year so it's kind of like now's the time," she said.

Trepp says aside from more space the new addition will also allow the shelter to take in more families.

The city council must pass two more readings of the rezoning request.