116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — Safe Place Foundation is launching a new gala to further its mission to support homeless men in recovery.
The first Best Kept Secret Gala, scheduled for Nov. 11, will help Safe Place Foundation continue services for men who are experiencing homelessness or near-homelessness, in addition to being in the early stages of recovery from alcoholism or drug addiction.
Leaders at the nonprofit, which does not receive any government funding, hope the gala can supplement their large annual spring fundraisers. Despite their unique position in addressing both addiction and homelessness, they operate with relatively little fanfare.
“It seems like we’re not as well known as many other charitable organizations in the Cedar Rapids area. We keep a low profile, we don’t make a big deal out of ourselves, but the people who know we’re here are glad we are,” said Ross Hauser, executive director of the organization.
Many referrals for the houses’ 40 beds come from inpatient treatment centers, Drug Court in Linn County, and correctional institutions.
What: Best Kept Secret Gala, Safe Place Foundation’s first gala
Where: Geonetric Building, 415 12th Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
When: 6:30 p.m. Nov. 11, 2022
Cost: $40 per person or $300 table of eight, at safeplacefoundation.org/home/gala-event
Details: Dinner prepared by local Chef Brett Heikkila; entertainment by comedy magician Zach Percell of TNZ Magic; testimony from a former Safe Place resident
With the local homeless population tripling since before the pandemic, programs like Safe Place remain in constant demand, with “a never-ending supply of people who can use recovery services.”
With a two-phase program, graduates first focus solely on their recovery before gradually resuming work outside the home and reintegrating into the community, while developing life skills for long-term success.
“The main reasons for homelessness in adult males are substance abuse issues,” Hauser said. “Our attitude is, if I can get a guy in here who’s homeless or nearly homeless and get him on the path to recovery, that’s going to take away a major reason for homelessness, and set him on a path to be a better family member.
“If you can get your feet on the ground in recovery, you can send positive ripples out,” Hauser added.
Funded substantially through grant funding in addition to fees paid by residents, Safe Place Foundation notes that 70 percent of its residents do not return to homelessness. An average of 100 men are housed in its two residences at 527 Sixth Ave. SE each year.
The nonprofit operates in part with a philosophy of “hand ups” instead of handouts, Hauser said, empowering its residents with skills that allow them to help those coming in after them.
With addiction issues so prevalent in families, the nonprofit hopes to count on those affected by the issue to lend a helping hand in establishing the new fundraiser’s success.
“It is so difficult to find housing for the homeless, and yet we have this great resource in Cedar Rapids that people overlook because they are just unaware of its existence,” said the Rev. Stasia Fine, a member of the nonprofit’s board. “I hope that our upcoming Best Kept Secret Gala helps raise awareness of this gem, as well as welcomes new donors to a charity they can be proud to put their giving behind.”
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