Dubuque Rescue Mission opens new warming, cooling shelter

Published: Mar. 29, 2023 at 4:06 PM CDT
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DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG) - As we continue to transition into spring, some nights in Eastern Iowa can still get pretty cold. And once we get into summer, the days can get brutally hot.

A new warming and cooling shelter in Dubuque that opened this month is looking to continue helping those experiencing homelessness battle those elements.

”It’s a critical community resource,” said Ashley Noonan, Regional Homeless Coordinator for Community Solutions of Eastern Iowa.

What used to be the Dubuque Food Pantry, is now a place for men experiencing homelessness to go for resources they may need to get out of Iowa elements.

Dubuque Rescue Mission took on the project after seeing their main shelter continuously filling up during the colder months.

”That’s just a really basic human need in any community to have a space,” said Rick Mihm, Dubuque Rescue Mission Executive Director.

While beds currently sit on the floor, the shelter is set to install bunk beds to double their space.

They also offer laundry services and shower and bathroom facilities, with staff on site.

“A facility that can at least get them out of the dangerous temperatures. We’ll have all sorts of forms for finding them additional housing if they currently have none, job searches, mental health appointments, substance abuse, appointments, whatever it is that they might have,” said Mihm.

Other resources that provide services for those experiencing homelessness in Dubuque said the additional space was much needed.

”It definitely fills a gap,” said Noonan.

Ashley Noonan, Regional Homeless Coordinator for Community Solutions of Eastern Iowa said it serves two purposes. Getting people out of the elements...

”This really provides people an opportunity to get off the street again, you know, meet their basic human needs of staying warm, having a place to get, you know, some food, keep their belongings, get a little bit of rest,” she said.

And meeting people where they are to continue serving them.

“Also as an opportunity for folks like myself and other service providers in our community to come and meet with them here and kind of establish some goals and work on getting folks to a more stable situation for their housing,” she said.

The new space will serve as an overnight shelter from November 1st to May 1st, and as a drop-in center during the warmer months.

”There has to be some resource,” said Mihm.