Second overflow shelter planned for Linn County as winter approaches

A once operational backup site is turning into a facility that will keep homeless people warm during the winter.
Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:17 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Linn County is buying a building that will help keep homeless people off the streets as winter sets in.

It will be a temporary, “as needed” overflow shelter, in addition to the current Fillmore Shelter on the northwest side. The building is a 16,000-square-foot building at 1017 12th Avenue SW in Cedar Rapids, located in an industrial area just off 10th Street east of the stadiums.

Linn County Supervisor Ben Rogers said he worked with Cedar Rapids City Councilmember Scott Olson to make this happen. Both decided on a new building that would house 100 homeless people during the winter since other shelters are often at full capacity.

Alicia Faust, Willis Dady Homeless Services’ Executive Director, said that 110 homeless people are living on the streets in Cedar Rapids, along with another 50 people that are staying at the Willis Dady Shelter. At a peak last year, that shelter maxed out at 85 individuals.

Though this facility will not be a solution to homelessness, it will provide more space for people to stay when everything is full.

Before it’s fully ready, the building will need renovations to add bathrooms, showers, and laundry services. The County was able to purchase this building from Alliant Energy for $395,000 with money from the American Rescue Plan.

“I grew up in this community. I don’t remember seeing people who were homeless when I was growing up, and now there are over 100 people who are actively homeless living on the streets, under the bridges, or along trails,” Rogers said. “It’s become a real, real issue,” Rogers said.

The Fillmore overflow shelter is set to open on November 15, or whenever temperatures drop below 30 degrees. Rogers is not sure when the new shelter will open but will be working with homeless providers on when it can.

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