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Cedar Valley Hospitality House Gives Hope to Homeless

May 28, 2021

According to Joni Hansen, between 300 and 400 homeless people live in Black Hawk County at any given time. It is a statistic many may not see, but Joni, executive director of Cedar Valley Hospitality House, knows the struggles of these too often invisible men and women. Hospitality House is the daytime shelter in the Cedar Valley for people in a homeless or marginalized situation. “We work with a wide variety of people and try to get them the services they need to become sustainable in life. We give them a helping hand they need to become viable in the community again,” said Joni.

The list of services the organization offers the homeless community is long, and includes access to food, clothing, showers, mail service, and social services through partnerships with local nonprofits to address needs, especially mental and physical health. When COVID-19 hit, the homeless population was intensely impacted. “During COVID we saw a transient population just moving around because jobs weren’t available. Many community meals ended. The only overnight shelter went to fifty percent capacity. It was not a good situation for the homeless,” said Joni.

To help with the growing need for services, Cedar Valley Hospitality House received $25,500 in grants from the Black Hawk County COVID-19 Cooperative Disaster Response Fund held with CFNEIA. The grants helped Hospitality House keep the homeless as safe as possible with PPE items, hand sanitizer, and consistent meals, even as food and monetary donations waned. “The funding helped us provide outstanding services for our guests, not just the bare minimum, and in a way that was exceptional and respectful,” said Joni.

This story is part of our 2020 Impact Report.