In downtown Iowa City, Iowa, the former Unitarian Universalist church will now be turned into a shelter for the homeless this approaching winter.
Shelter House, which is an organization in Iowa City that has provided shelter to those living without a home for over 30 years, is overseeing this latest addition to their number of shelters they are able to provide.
The church was recently sold to Jesse Allen, a local businessman, who said he had no need for the building this winter, which was then allowed to be used by Shelter House this winter, free of rent.
Allen told the Iowa City Press Citizen:
I’m in a position where I am able to help. I don’t have a use for it this winter and I think it makes sense for all the parties. It’s a great opportunity to help out the community. They [Shelter House] wanted to rent it from us and I told them I’d let them use it for free.
The building will be able to hold 35 people overnight and will be open from 5pm to 8am the following day.
In addition to the 35 bed capacity of the former Unitarian church, Shelter house has another location that just upped it’s availability from 70 to 100 beds.
Mark Sertterh, who is the associate executive director of Shelter House noted just how important this service is to the community, especially since it is starting to get very cold at night in Iowa:
It is a really important service that we’ve been able to offer because it truly does target those who are chronically homeless and on the streets during the winter time when it is really dangerous to be out.
This latest news is yet another example that there are not only wonderful people in the world, but that there are solutions to some of society’s most severe challenges: homelessness.
One Paycheck Away From Becoming Homeless…
One thing we must redirect our focus from if we are to address this issue is money. Money is not what is important in helping to cure this illness that has plagued humanity. Resources and compassion are the answers.
What available resources do we have that can be used to help eliminate this situation of homelessness? Abandoned buildings? How about the homes that people have been evicted from due to mortgages?
More importantly, we must use the resource of compassion to help those most in need. As social engineer Chris Agnos says:
Human beings without a home are still human beings. Let us not forget that. They have families just like you. They have feelings just like you. They have desires and dreams just like you.
They are scared, vulnerable, and in desperate need of your generosity and kindness, even if all you are able to do is stop for a moment, look into their eyes and say with sincere compassion, “I see you. You matter to me.”