Ending chronic homelessness is the goal of an experiment in the Quad Cities. By mid-summer, Humility Homes and Services plans to launch what it’s calling the Supportive Housing Pilot Project.
Spokesman Ryan Bobst says the project will provide a range of services to ten people for the next three years.
“These are generally individuals who have experienced chronic homelessness,” Bobst says. “They’ve got a history of arrests, typically for trespassing, and then they also have a behavioral health disorder so they’re frequently in and out of our emergency shelter, in and out of the hospital, and in and out of jail.”
Funding for the pilot project comes from a pair of $100,000 grants, from the Quad Cities Community Foundation and the Ryan Foundation of Omaha. Bobst says that’s a lot less than these ten people would cost in what’s referred to as “non-housing services.”
“These ten individuals, over the same time period, would cost taxpayers nearly $1.8 million dollars by using emergency shelter, and jails, and being hospitalized for treatment,” Bobst says, “whereas we’re able to house them for a fraction of that cost.”
He says the ten participants will receive rental assistance, intensive case management, learn basic living skills, and get help with food and transportation. Humility Homes and Services is in its 31st year of offering transitional housing to homeless people in the Quad Cities.
Also, Iowans who received COVID stimulus checks earlier this year but don’t really need the cash are encouraged to help others who’ve been hurt by the pandemic. That’s the goal of a campaign in the Quad Cities called “Spread the Relief,” led by several religious and social service organizations.
Rabbi Henry Karp, from the group One Human Family, says millions of Americans have lost their jobs, lost access to health care, and can’t afford food and housing, while others — like him — received a stimulus check but don’t really need it.
“Let’s pay it forward,” Karp says. “Let’s re-direct this money to where it needs to go, where it’s intended to go, to help save those in our society whose lives have been thrown in jeopardy.”
Karp says he and his wife split up their stimulus check among 11 programs and agencies. One Human Family and the other groups have posted a long list of programs and agencies that could use donations to help people impacted by the pandemic.
Other groups involved in the “Spread the Relief” campaign include the Diocese of Davenport’s Immigration Office, Quad Cities Interfaith, NAACP, and Progressive Action for the Common Good.
(By Herb Trix, WVIK, Rock Island)