Government

Johnson County emergency winter shelter likely in same place as last year

Cedar Rapids shelter yet to be finalized

Shelter House’s winter emergency shelter will be at the same location as last year, 821 S. Clinton Street in Iowa City. The county is leasing the space as no cost to provide a place for homeless people to stay during the coldest nights of the year. (The Gazette file photo)
Shelter House’s winter emergency shelter will be at the same location as last year, 821 S. Clinton Street in Iowa City. The county is leasing the space as no cost to provide a place for homeless people to stay during the coldest nights of the year. (The Gazette file photo)

IOWA CITY — The area’s low-barrier emergency winter shelter will be in the same location as last year at 821 S. Clinton St., but the winters of searching for a temporary shelter space are likely numbered.

The Johnson County Board of Supervisors is expected to approve a no-cost lease with Shelter House during a formal meeting Thursday for the county-owned building at the corner of South Clinton and East Benton streets, a former Carquest facility. The lease will run from Nov. 1 to March 31 and provide a space for homeless people to stay during the coldest nights of the year.

Johnson County is the process of rezoning land for its Behavioral Health Urgent Care Center, which will include a permanent location for a low-barrier shelter, among other services. The first full winter in the permanent space will likely be 2020.

The space, previously used for county storage, opened up last year after a new facility was completed for Johnson County’s ambulance service and medical examiner.

The low-barrier shelter, funded through the Shelter House’s Out of the Cold campaign, is meant to provide a warm space to sleep without requirements such a as sobriety or program participation, like in traditional overnight shelters.

In Linn County, Willis Dady Homeless Services last week was scrambling to find a shelter location after the previous year’s space was sold and no longer available. Phoebe Trepp, executive director of Willis Dady, said there wasn’t news to share yet about an official location.

Trepp said the organization is eyeing one particular spot but it would need to clear approval from several parties and undergo some physical updates.

l Comments: (319) 339-3172; maddy.arnold@thegazette.com

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