Number of Iowa homeless on the rise - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Number of Iowa homeless on the rise

WATERLOO (KWWL)---The recession has put many people out of work and out of a place to live.  And that's true right here in Iowa, where the number of homeless people is growing.

Beds at the Salvation Army homeless shelter in Waterloo lay empty on Sunday morning.  But every evening, they're full.

"I'm full for the whole summer.  And they rotate out of here about every 20 days.  So you're talking 16 and every 20 days through the summer, you're talking about 200 to 300 people that rotate through here," said Terry Mundt, shelter director.

And keeping the shelter at capacity means sometimes people have to be turned away.  Unfortunately, it's a trend that's being seen across the state.  A new report released by the state shows that 23,000 people sought help in shelters like this one last year.  That's almost 40 percent more than in 2008.

"Before it was more the ones that were always on the move. Now we're getting younger kids, 19 and 20 years old that just can't find work.  We're also getting some professional people that they can't find any work around," Mundt said.

The Salvation Army even added a family shelter at this facility to help accommodate the growing need.  It's a place that many who come here, thought they'd never end up.

"They feel bad enough because of where they're at anyway.  So I try to help them out as much as I can by referring them to Workforce, where they do have jobs," Mundt said.

And luckily, donations coming into the Salvation Army have remained strong.  So there's a good support system to continue providing services and shelter for those in need.

Part of the I-JOBS program will also provide assistance to help shelters meet their growing needs.  $10 million in revenue bonds are available to help renovate, expand, and build new shelters.

KWWL Reporter: Kera Mashek

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