New women's shelter to open in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New women's shelter to open in Dubuque

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- There's a new women's shelter opening it's doors in Dubuque. It's located at 380 E. 21st Street, blocks down from the Manasseh Housing, An affordable apartment complex for single women. This new shelter is opening thanks to the generosity of one woman who is dedicated to empowering women.

"As you can see we're still cleaning up, painting, those types of things," Michelle Mihalakis said.

You can't miss the yellow sided house off E. 21st Street in Dubuque.

"There is a big need for a shelter like this in Dubuque. The economy tanking like it is," Mihalakis said.

It's Dubuque's newest emergency shelter, Safe Strides

"Women come from a variety of situations but make no mistake there is a need. I have women right now that want to move into this shelter," Mihalakis said.

Mihalakis already erected two long term affordable housing units, just down the street but this will serves a different purpose.

"This is an emergency and a transitional shelter, however, it's gone feel safe, hence the name safe strides, and I like that also because we wanna do more than just house women we want to empower them," Mihalakis said.

And it's that very thing that inspired her to purchased this run down house and renovated. The two bedrooms upstairs will serve as transitional housing. Downstairs there's a more temporary spot for woman to stay up to 21 days.

"What's nice about this place, it feels like a home. And that's the greatest type gonna I can offer for a woman that had to flee her home," Mihalakis said.

Thanks to donations in money and materials, Mihalakis says it cost about $70,000 to transform. Starting April 4th up to 8 woman will stay there, hoping to transform their lives.

"No matter where women come from, no matter what point they're at in their life, we can accommodate them," Mihalakis said.

Mihkalakis is holding her first public fundraiser for the Safe Strides shelter Thursday night, from 6 to 8 P.M. at Mystique Community Ice Center. Public skating admission is $5. There will be a silent auction for numerous items.

You can also make donations to help furnish the new shelter: You can drop them off at the Manasseh Housing, 2080 Elm St., Dubuque, IA 52001. The shelter can use donations of small kitchen appliances, a vacuum, towels, cleaning supplies, toiletries and groups to sponsor occasional suppers and volunteers. Call 563-599-2980. For more information. After April 4, call 563-556-SAFE.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

Follow Lauren on Twitter.

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