Something is NOT Right with This Situation
by John Cooper
As things exist today there are
homeless shelters in the Quad Cities that can accommodate a family! If you are a single woman or man, there's shelter thanks to Humility Homes and Services which recently stepped up to insure that the cities only overflow shelter at Kings Harvest opened this month. If for you are a homeless family, there's currently no place for you to go.
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we recall that there was no room in the inn for the Holy Family in Bethlehem. That was just as a sad situation 2000 years ago as it is today for homeless families in the Quad Cities. And so...families live in cars, are forced to split up, or throw themselves at the mercy of the police.
The root issue is a lack of affordable housing in the Quad Cities. According to the
Out of Reach Iowa
- A minimum wage earner working full time can’t afford even a studio apartment in any of Iowa’s 99 counties.
- 350,000 people rent places to live in Iowa and 140,000 of those are "rent burdened" meaning they spend more than 30% of their income for housing.
- An Iowan worker making the minimum wage ($7.25/hour) couldn’t even afford a studio apartment in any Iowa county. They would need to work 65 hours per week to pay for a one-bedroom apartment, or 83 hours per week for a two-bedroom.
- To afford a two bedroom apartment in Scott County, a person needs to make $14.96 per hour or $31,120 a year.
We see the desperation everyday at St. Anthony's. For instance, last Friday evening a desperate woman called who had just been released from the hospital after having a hysterectomy. She had put down $300 on an apartment prior to the surgery. When she went to move in, she found out that she needed an additional $500. In tears, she was driving around the Quad Cities looking for a place to stay as her four children sat in a room at one of the areas seedier hotels. Alexis Lellig, one of the persons becoming Catholic this year in our RCIA program is a social worker and she was gracious enough to help this woman.
In the short term, we ask that you use your voices to encourage our local leaders to address the lack of shelter space for families. There has to be a short term fix for this winter.
In the long term, we need to address the lack of affordable housing in the Quad Cities. Efforts are currently underway to create an affordable housing plan. I've been attending those meetings. I'll keep you posted!