Dubuque Rescue Mission beyond capacity - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dubuque Rescue Mission beyond capacity

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Any day during the lunch hour, the Dubuque Rescue Mission is filled with people in need, trying to get a hot meal.

But once it's night, the shelter is overwhelmed, beyond capacity.

"I'm contemplating with the board of directors opening the dining hall at night, to put additional cots in, we really want to avoid that," said Rick Mihm, executive director.

It's only supposed to house about 30 men, but lately they're seeing about 40.

They've had to double up some of the  rooms. Also, find any other space available. This means some sleep on cots in the hallway, or on chairs --  even in the laundry room.

Mihm says it's been getting worse in the past few years. "Lack of affordable housing. Yep, that's the root issue. Many of these individuals are on supplemental incomes, SSI or disability," he said.

Russell Wanke of Dubuque thinks he might need one of the beds soon. "With the rent so high, just trying to make it, and its a monthly check, trying to make that stretch through the month...so sometimes, you just move around from shelter to shelter."

Another issue is that landlords in the area are now requesting more money up front, including the first and last month's rent, before someone can lease an apartment. It's making it pretty impossible for those who live on a small income. 

The Dubuque Rescue Mission's overflow shelter at the St. John's Lutheran Church has also seen high demand.

Mihm said the community needs affordable, efficiency apartments. 

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