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Shelter House Keeps Homeless Issue Front and Center

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IOWA CITY, Iowa - Hundreds of people filled the Englert theater to learn about and discuss homelessness in Johnson County Wednesday night. Attendance at the event, put on by the Shelter House, surpassed estimates as overflow crowd members filled the second level of the downtown theater.

"The goal is to educate and discuss homelessness in our community," said Crissy Canganelli, executive director of the Shelter House. "There is a lot people just don't know."

The community-wide forum featured speakers, music and a video.

"They helped me out twice," said Anthony Baltsteri, who's had two stays at the facility. "It's about getting off your feet and getting back at it."

Since the new shelter was opened 2010, Canganelli said voluteers and resources have been overwhelming, but problems remain.

"We have 70 beds at the shelter, we run full almost every night, so at the same time while I'd say we're doing better as far as the depth of service, there is a concern regarding the demand for service," she said.

Community leaders said they will work to put on similar education events in the near future.

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