Cedar Valley Hospitality House offers daytime shelter for homeless people - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Cedar Valley Hospitality House offers daytime shelter for homeless people

by Danielle Wagner

WATERLOO (KWWL) Waterloo has a new place for homeless people to go during the daytime. Most overnight shelters are closed from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The daytime shelter is called Cedar Valley Hospitality House. It's located at 1003 Mulberry Street in Waterloo. According to one of the directors, there are only two other houses like it in the Midwest. One in Chicago and one in the Twin Cities.

We spoke with one homeless woman (who asked us not to use her) who said when her overnight shelter closes in the morning, she has no where to go.

"It's warm in here and really nice people and they're working really hard to find all these resources for us," she said.

She said she became homeless nearly two years ago.

"I was forced, out of my employment, lost my home of 21 years," she said.

Now, she's looking for a job and a permanent place to live. She's hoping to have more luck with resources now available at the Cedar Valley Hospitality House.

Joni Hansen, Father George Karnik and Jason Holt are the directors. They said it took about a month to get it up and running.

"We wanted to get started as quick as possible with winter. We like the proximity to the Catholic Worker House walking to the other eating sites was a primary concern," said Father George Karnik.

At the house, people have access to a local phone and a computer with Internet.

"Just to better their life whether it's to find a job, find a place to live, maybe go back to school to college or get a GED," said Jason Holt.

Holt said he relates this house to the old parable: "Give a man a fish, he eats for a day. Teach a man how to fish, he eats for a lifetime."

"It's pointless to tell somebody to go do something if they don't know how to do it for themselves. That's a big part of where we come in. We're not judgemental. We don't turn anybody down," said Holt.

The house is open seven days a week. People can get food, take a shower, do laundry or just drink a cup of coffee while staying out of the cold.

There are a few rules for people staying at the house you must be sober, no drugs, no weapons and at least 18 years old unless you come with an adult.

The hospitality house is really in need of volunteers. They'd like two people at the house at all times.

If you'd like to volunteer, call Rose at 319-232-3177 or Sue at 319-236-0455.

To make a donation, call the hospitality house at 319-234-1311.

You can also mail monetary donations to: Cedar Valley Hospitality House, POX Box 1505, Waterloo, Iowa 50704.

Reporter: Danielle Wagner

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