Shelter House adds position to increase community interaction

Updated: Jun. 10, 2021 at 6:39 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Shelter House, a homeless community outreach program, is now finding people who are homeless and bringing support to them.

They’ve added a street outreach position to help build relationships with the homeless population in Iowa City and eventually offer services if needed.

This new model has the backing of the city. Iowa City acknowledged the need for better community interaction and is paying for half the cost of a person to do this street outreach. The organization pays for the other half via community donors and other fundraisers.

Leaders with Shelter House say the purpose of the position is to find people who are living outside and might not know where to find help- either housing assistance or lunch.

Shelter House’s new Street Outreach and Engagement Specialist says he talks with the unhoused in Iowa City on a daily basis.

“This role is about a slow evolution over time in getting folks’ needs met by offering, by asking then offering, what is necessary. And if someone declines, that’s okay,” said Christine Ralston, Shelter House Director of Development.

Officials with Shelter House say one of the main goals of this position is to build trust with those who are living out on the streets.

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