Sharing the same table: Dubuque Rep. living in a homeless shelter - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Sharing the same table: Dubuque Rep. living in a homeless shelter

DES MOINES (KWWL) -- With tough economic times many homeless shelters are filling up with people in need, both for food and shelter.

This year, the Des Moines Catholic Worker House has an unlikely guest.  State Representative Chuck Isenhart is living there, believing the experience he gains there can help him do his job better.

Three to four times a week the house opens up for hospitality, inviting in local neighbors and anyone in need of a meal.  What people find is that they're serving up more than just food.  Many people enjoy sitting down and listening to someone's story.

Hearing stories is one of the many reasons Representative Isenhart of Dubuque lives there, while he's in session at the capitol.

"People like they say, to have their stories directly heard and see what kind of impact that has," said Rep. Chuck Isenhart of Dubuque.

Isenhart, who is serving his first term in the Iowa House of Representatives, grew up next to the Dubuque Catholic Worker House.

"A lot of folks who had good station in life at one time and are maybe on hard luck times now and other folks who've never been able to claw up, all under the same roof at least three or four nights a week," said Rep. Isenhart.

While Isenhart spends his days working under the golden dome, coming home each night reminds him what's really important.

"We need to look out for everybody and this is a place where you can keep your finger on the pulse of life so to speak," said Rep. Isenhart.

In order to hear these stories a lot of times you actually have to move your body.  You cannon stay in the insulated suburbs, you cannot stay in the gated community and hear these stories," said a resident of the Des Moines Catholic Worker House.

Rep. Isenhart says he plans to stay at the Catholic Worker House throughout the 2009 legislative session.

Online Reporter: Lauren Squires
Online Producer: Mike Verlo

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