Homeless shelters expect more this spring - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Homeless shelters expect more this spring

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DUBUQUE (KWWL) - Despite warmer weather and a slight turn in the economy - local homeless shelters are still seeing a rise in need. Whether it's housing, food or supplies, - the Rescue Mission in Dubuque is no exception.

Rick Mihm knows the need for homeless shelters in Dubuque.

"We have a certain capacity that we can go to. I'm quite certain that if you had 60 beds up there they would be 60 full beds," said Mihm.

As executive director of the Rescue Mission - which provides meals, housing and a thrift store - he's seen hundreds of people come through the mission each year.

"Years passed we used to have a bit of a reprieve during the beginning of the warmer months. Doesn't look like that's gonna happen here," said Mihm.

Last winter the dorms upstairs - were constantly full - housing homeless men in Dubuque. Mihm says that trend has continued into spring.

"As many transition through the mission, there's 3 or 4 others right behind them that need somewhere else to stay," said Mihm.

Over the last few years they've seen a rise in people needing a place to stay but now as the weather gets warmer they've seen a rise in people asking for vouchers to use inside the store. The requests have nearly tripled; 20 in January, 60 in April.

"The voucher always them to go down to the store and get clothing, shoes, bedding, beds and dish wear for no price at all, for free," said Mihm.

He contributes this rise in requests and the constant need for housing to a failing economy and says as the weather gets warm this summer, he has no doubt the numbers will continue to rise.

"It just keeps creeping up and that's what we're continuing to see, it just keeps creeping up," said Mihm.

The Rescue Mission says they're also seeing an increased need for single and double beds. As people transition out of the shelter and into an apartment. Donations can be dropped off at the Rescue Mission Thrift Store on Main street in Dubuque.

Online reporter: Lauren Squires
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