Shelter Gets $105K to Help Homeless Veterans
By Nadia Crow, Reporter
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowans who’ve served our country makeup 8% of the state’s homeless population. That means nearly one-thousand homeless veterans. One agency working to get those veterans off the streets and in permanent employment and housing just got a $105,000 federal grant.
The Shelter House has a common area on the first floor full of people with a common problem … homelessness.
“Not just increasing numbers of homeless, but increasing numbers of homeless veterans,” said Shelter House Executive Director Chrissy Canganelli.
Veterans like Chris Mundorf who now lives at Iowa City’s Shelter House. If it wasn’t for this place …
“I would probably be where I was a year ago, living out in the streets somewhere,” said Mundorf.
The new facility has 70 beds instead of just 29 like at the old facility. And veterans can stay here for 90 days up to a year until they find permanent employment and permanent housing.
“It takes a lot to adjust to society when you get out of the military,” said Mundorf.
98 veterans found sanctuary here last year. The dorm style living provides clients with a bed, clothing, food, and tools for independence.
“With the VA Health Care System right here we see significant numbers of people coming through our doors and we know with this program in particular we’re really able to get down to the issues,” said Canganelli.
The Shelter House got the $105,000 federal grant last year with a renewal this year. Its money to continue programs designed to help veterans find work.
“What are the employment opportunities? What are the skills, experience that you bring in? What are the experiences you had with your military service?” asked Canganelli.
Classrooms like this one provide a space for veterans to demystify the job search outside of the armed forces. They can also get help with mental health issues, substance abuse, and other challenges.
“A lot of them have been forgotten about which isn’t right and it hurts me to see that,” said Mundorf.
That’s why Mundorf says the Shelter House plays a vital role in reaching out to those who’ve served. The Shelter House helped 49 veterans in this special program. They found housing and jobs. And with more dollars, staff say they can get more veterans back to living independently.
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