Funding to help homeless referrals in Dubuque - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Funding to help homeless referrals in Dubuque

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By Lauren Squires

DUBUQUE (KWWL) -- To help those without a home, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development is awarding more than $9 million in grants; $46 million to Iowa homeless agencies.

Ryan Rieck has been living at the Catholic Worker Hope House in Dubuque since November.

"I was living in my tent at the time. I lost my job, my place. Came here and ended up being the cook here so it's pretty nice," said Rieck.

As Rieck cooks in the kitchen, 14 other men share the house with him. It's a house that relies one hundred percent on community support.

"We aren't a not for profit so its run like a household, it's funded entirely on donations," said Duke Berg, a Catholic Worker volunteer.

Which isn't easy in a tough economy.

"Let me tell you about the catholic worker house, they do an amazing job on a short strip budget," said Jenny Manders.

Manders, of Project Concern often refers people to the hope house and many other shelters in the area. She says in the last year their calls to the homeless hotline have doubled.

"I think especially in these economic times it's important."

Important enough that the project concern is receiving a $31,000 grant. Others receiving money in Dubuque - Hillcrest Hopes Project, and the Maria and Manasseh Houses. It's money that will help find shelter for people like Rieck. So that -- during a tough economy -- he can get back on his feet.

"Looking for work but its tough right now but I'm sure there's a restaurant out there that would want me right now," said Rieck.

Eastern Iowa Shelter coordinators say having a warm place to stay this time of year is especially vital for those less fortunate. Shelter house of Iowa City has been dealing with space shortages by working with area churches.

They take in as many as 160 people every night when the main facilities fill up. Linn County is also seeing a rise in need. They had more than 4500 homeless cases last year, up nearly 300. They also say the june flood and poor economy are contributing factors.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires

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