This is “Iowa Homeless and Hunger Awareness Week” and one of the people who deals with the issue firsthand is asking you to pause and think about helping out.
Scott Larsen works for Hope Ministries in Des Moines. He says they set aside the week to try and draw attention to hunger and homelessness. He says, “It never goes away. Whether we’re in hurricane ravaged areas of the United States or here in central Iowa, there are people that have needs.”
Larsen says the colder weather of winter does add another dimension to the problem. He says there’s certainly a seasonal part to the homelessness in Iowa, as he says some of the people who tried to get away by heading to the woods, find that wasn’t the best option. He says they try to get those people hooked up with services that can help them.
Larsen says you may think solving the problem is as easy as giving someone a place to live — or getting them a job — but he says there are other circumstances involved.
He says for every person it’s a little bit different. He says often there’s chemical addiction or mental illness. He says sometimes it’s an emotional issue such as a divorce, the death of child, or loss of a job that puts them in a bad emotional state where they aren’t making good decisions. He says people sometimes burn all their bridges and don’t have a lot of places to turn. Larsen says you can help by getting involved with the agencies in your area that help the hunger and homeless.
He says his advice is to find out about the agencies in your area and contact these agencies and get involved in partnering with them. Larsen says individuals who’re hungry and homeless tend to gravitate toward the larger cities like Des Moines because of their services. But, he says there’s a need throughout the state.