Residents on the Northwest side concerned over people living in the overflow shelter

Residents on the Northwest side concerned over people living in the overflow shelter
Published: Jun. 24, 2021 at 11:02 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - The winter overflow shelter closed the first of June, but neighbors say unhoused people are still living in the parking lot.

The Fillmore Center is near Roosevelt Middle School on the Northwest side of Cedar Rapids, and it’s nestled in a neighborhood with single family homes and lots of families. Some of those people told TV9 they want the homeless still living there out of their neighborhood.

Laureen Huptman, who lives on the Northwest side of Cedar Rapids, said neighbors have seen sexual things and drug use.

The overflow shelter closed on June 1 for the first time since the pandemic. The Cedar Rapids Police said there had been 16 calls for service to the facility since it closed.

Huptman said the final straw was when someone vandalized her garage.

“I was angry, beyond angry,” Huptman said. “I came over to the parking lot where they stay, and no one was over here.”

It was unclear if someone living in the parking lot was responsible for the vandalism. TV9 spoke to a person living in the parking lot who said he had nowhere else to go, and Huptman threw all of their belongings in the dumpster.

“That might have been wrong of me to do, but they damaged my property,” she said. “Eye for an eye, and they dug it all out of the garbage after.”

On Thursday, she took the concerns to the Northwest Neighbors Neighborhood Association, which was partially designed to keep the quadrant safe. Police presence has also been up because of the community concerns over people continuing to live in the parking lot.

“We have been doing extra patrols across the neighborhood due to the complaints,” said Cedar Rapids Police Lt. Tony Robinson.

The police said they couldn’t ask these people to leave the community because it wasn’t the city’s property, the county-owned the land. Council member Scott Olson gave us this statement: “They are hesitant to them from the property without a new location identified. They are working hard to solve this problem.”

“Nobody else has done anything,” she said. “The city and county said they were working on it, we have a 70-year-old lady over here that wants to move. We have one person packing as we speak.”

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