By Samantha Pidde Herald Staff Writer
The Clinton Herald
---- — CLINTON — The Iowa Finance Authority has awarded $54,000 to a Clinton living facility for two 24-hour shelters.
A total of $945,385 in grants was awarded to Iowa homeless and domestic violence shelters through the Shelter Assistance Fund program, funded with proceeds from the real-estate transfer tax. These grants can be used to assist with providing essential services, emergency shelter operations and homelessness prevention services.
“Affordable housing is at the core of stable families and strong communities,” said Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director Dave Jamison, in a press release. He said the grants "will play a direct role in assisting many Iowa families to overcome obstacles and avoid homelessness or quickly regain stable, affordable housing.”
Pathway Living Center, 562 Second Ave. South, operates two 24-hour shelters within the Clinton community —one for mentally ill individuals and one for the homeless. These programs not only offer shelter to individuals, but also assist them with learning or relearning important life skills and becoming more financially stable. Executive Director Melissa Peterson added that staff help the residents improve their mental and physical health and help create a support network around them.
Peterson added that the shelter is meant to be temporary as one step in getting the individuals back on their feet. The goal is to get the resident into a more permanent place to stay, whether with an independent landlord or in one of the Pathway Living Center facilities.
“It's just working with the community to find them a landlord that will work with them and support them,” Peterson said. “Help them be more dependent and not be so dependent on us.”
The $54,000 grant will allow the organization to pay for utilities and staff costs associated with the shelter. Peterson was delighted with the grant. Pathway Living Center applied for the grant but expected no more than $20,000.
“So when we saw the award we were very pleased,” Peterson said. “That money will go a long way to support the program.”
Peterson said the funds are particularly appreciated due to an increase she has noticed in those needing services. Last year, the shelters were relatively full. This year, the facilities are constantly full and they typically have three to five people on a waiting list at any given time.
“That is a big increase for our community, I believe,” Peterson said.
She attributed much of this increase to changes with the mental health redesign. She has encountered individuals negatively impacted by other communities closing residential care facilities. She said many of these people are "just kind of falling through the cracks."