Homeless Escape Cold By Sleeping In Iowa City Hall Building

By Mark Carlson, Iowa City Bureau Chief

IOWA CITY, Iowa - Several homeless people escaped the cold Monday night by sleeping inside the Iowa City Hall building near downtown. One man slept under the main reception desk, another slept on a bench outside a conference room and a third slept in a hallway to other offices.

"It's public," Iowa City police lieutenant Mike Brotherton said of the makeshift dorm, located just down the hall from the police department.

Brotherton said the scene shows the continued issue with homelessness in Iowa City. He said anytime it gets cold, homeless people seek shelter inside the building. The lobby area is open 24 hours to allow access to the police department's front desk.

"The cold has people talking about this issue again, and that's good," said Brotherton.

One man said he was forced to sleep in the lobby of city hall because he had been banned from Shelter House for smoking marijuana in the bathroom. Shelter House is the areas only homeless shelter. Sunday night officials said it ran over capacity to accommodate nearly 80 people in need of a place to stay.
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