Members of the “Iowa Coalition for Housing and the Homeless” say they’ll push state legislators to return funding to programs for the homeless when they return to Des Moines in January. Jim McWeeney, co-chair of the Affordable Housing and Homeless Partnership, says the cutting of funds is a disservice to Iowans who need them the most.He says the word derelict is sometimes used to described the homeless, but he says it can be used in this case to describe state and local officials who’ve cut money to programs for the needy. Amy Knudsen is also a member of the coalition. She says at the least, they’d like funding restored to the D-H-S programs.Bob Crandall oversees the Bidwell Riverside shelter in Des Moines. He says legislators should consider increasing taxes if they can’t find funds for the programs.He says that’s the most unpopular alternative, but he says he can’t see Iowa’s faith-based organizations picking up the slack. Crandall says churches don’t have the resources to do the job like private agencies. He says his organization sees 500 people a month alone on food related issues, and he says without some government help, he doesn’t know what the answer is. Crandall says something has to be done before things get even worse.The focus on the issue today is part of national Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week which runs today through November 23rd. The officials at today’s meeting says there are over 18-thousand homeless people annually in Iowa.
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