The economic downturn continues to leave many people in Iowa homeless. The most recent figures from the Iowa Council on Homelessness show more than 18,000 people are without a place to live, and thousands more are at risk for becoming homeless.
Michael Grey spent Father's Day playing catch with his 12-year-old son. It's simple moments like that, that bring brief joy to this family, in what's been a difficult few years, as they're now homeless.
"It hurts...I hurt," said Michelle Grey.
Their troubles began when Michelle was diagnosed with Graves Disease, which has led to several eye surgeries. Her eyes are so sensitive to light, she almost always wears sunglasses. Her husband quit his job to help care for her and their two kids, and has been unable to find work for over two years.
"A dishwasher job, I don't care, you know. As long as I'm making 40 hours a week, that would be enough so we could get our own place. But right now, as it stands, the money we do have coming in isn't enough," Michael Grey said.
So the family's bounced around to live with friends--instead of the streets. Sadly, their situation is not unique. In fact, during the hot summer months, the Salvation Army's shelter stays full.
"In the summertime, we usually have more people coming in than we do in the winter time. I think personally it's that way because people are more likely to kick people out in summer than in the winter when it's cold," said Terry Mundt with the Waterloo Salvation Army.
It's a dangerous situation, since it's all too easy for the homeless to succumb to the summer heat. But the Salvation Army says there's a common thread with many of those they help. Despite their circumstances, they haven't given up hope.
"That's they only thing you've got left. I mean, you can't give that up. You've got to keep hope that something better is going to happen tomorrow," Michael Grey said.
The salvation army also sees a climb in daytime visitors during the hot summer months. Its building on Franklin Street in Waterloo serves as both a meals site and cooling center for those in need.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:45 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:45:03 GMT
Area women enjoyed lunch together as part of the Women to Women Career Mentoring Program.More >>
Area women enjoyed lunch together as part of the Women to Women Career Mentoring Program. The program started in the spring of 2011 as a project of the Cedar Valley United Way's Women Philanthropy Connection (WPC).More >>
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