homeless

Alan Light/Flickr

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s report on homelessness shows that for the first time in seven years, the number of Americans experiencing homelessness increased by about seven-tenths of a percent.

Iowa ranks among the states with the lowest rates of homelessness. Homelessness decreased by 10 percent last year in the state compared to 2016. That means 1,500 people and 1,256 families were homeless in Iowa.

On this edition of River to River, Ben Kieffer explores what it’s like to be homeless in Iowa, particularly during this cold snap.

IPR/Pat Blank

The nonprofit organization Joppa continues to receive tiny houses for its proposed community village for the homeless in Des Moines. Earlier this month, three of the shelters built by Drake University alumni, students and volunteers were donated. Three more are on their way to the capital city from the University of Northern Iowa.

UNI Senior Baily Abbott says he jumped at the chance to get hands-on experience helping build the houses.

timothy's house of hope
Timothy's House of Hope Facebook

A church that serves breakfast to Davenport residents in need is reopening Monday after being shut down by the city for a zoning violation.

Timothy’s House of Hope has been closed for almost a month after it moved to a new location.  The group typically serves 2,000 to 5,000 meals in that amount of time. 

It is reopening because Davenport has agreed to not cite the group for zoning violations while it considers changes to its code. 

Flickr / an0nym0n0us

Coe College and the Willis Dady emergency shelter in Cedar Rapids are teaming up on Monday to host a service day for veterans experiencing homelessness or near homelessness. The sessions will focus on mental health, personal finance and employment. 

Willis Dady volunteer coordinator Holli Erkson says that often times people who are caught in the cycle of homelessness encounter additional barriers to employment.

Dean Borg / Iowa Public Radio

For those who are apprehensive about preparing holiday meals for family guests, consider Sister Ludmilla Benda, a nearly ninety-year old woman who does it weekly for a hundred-or-more hungry strangers. 

Tom Vance / Central Iowa Shelter & Services

A giant ‘food dome’ is almost complete next to Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines. As Iowa public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, the unusually shaped greenhouse will grow vegetables year round and supply the shelter’s kitchen.

Rodney Volkmar and a team from the Colorado-based company Growing Spaces are attaching triangular sheets of reflective insulation on a 30-foot, dome-shaped scaffolding. They expect to finish work by Friday.

Durrie Bouscaren / Iowa Public Radio News

Just south of downtown Des Moines, and tucked away from the families and bicyclists visiting Grey’s Lake, six people live under the Martin Luther King Bridge.

“It’s a lot scarier than people think,” says 52-year-old Bonnie Schroeder.

For the second time in two years, the city of Des Moines is evicting about 40 people who are homeless and living in camps within the city. Some have already packed up and moved on—others, including Schoeder, are appealing the city’s decision.

John Pemble / IPR

More than twenty states have refused to expand Medicaid under Obamacare, leaving many Americans below the poverty line with few health insurance options. Some states are coming up with their own low-income health plans which would give them some of the federal money set aside for Medicaid expansions while writing their own rules. Federal authorities approved Iowa’s alternative proposal. As Iowa Public Radio’s Clay Masters reports… the rest of the country is taking note. 

Alan Light / Flickr

According to a study by the Iowa Council on Homelessness, in 2011 roughly 17,900 individuals in Iowa were homeless at some point throughout that year.  What are the causes of homelessness and what can communities do to help? Also, Iowa City has a new ordinance which aims to further restrict panhandling in the downtown area. 

Shelter House

Today on Talk of Iowa, host Charity Nebbe discusses job training programs for the homeless by exploring Iowa City's Shelter House "Culinary Starts" program, that teaches its clients how to prepare food. The program also generates revenue by catering to local businesses.

Nebbe also talks with a veteran and a director involved in the Goodwill of the Heartland's employment program.