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Fairweather Lodge

Fairweather Lodge

The Fairweather Lodge program is a permanent supportive housing intervention intended to support the mental health and employment needs of individuals with severe mental illness who are at increased risk of homelessness. The cost of living, including rent and utilities, at the Lodge is configured on a case-by-case basis which is determined during consultation with staff. The Lodge program combines:

  • Permanent supportive, affordable housing
  • Supported employment in a janitorial business
  • Peer support and accountability
  • Mental health recovery
  • Daily medication support
  • Access to psychiatric care and counseling support


The Lodge program has been helpful. Normally I have been told to ‘buck up.’ This is the first place I have been told I can have depression without a reason for it.
Dennis, Lodge participant
The Fairweather Lodge program was developed by psychologist George Fairweather in California in 1963. Its goal is to provide emotional support, a place to live, and employment for its members. Fairweather found that patients with serious and persistent mental illness were less likely to return to the hospital when they lived and worked together in the community as a group, rather than individually. His research also showed that the Lodge Program helps people stay in the community longer and costs less than conventional treatment programs.

The FWL model also includes an employment component, with the understanding that participation in gainful employment supports mental health recovery. Shelter House’s FWL program provides employment for all Lodge members through its Fresh Starts business which contracts with local businesses to provide janitorial services. Gainful employment has proven to develop self esteem, accountability, and a sense of significance for FWL members.

To be eligible to participate in the Fairweather Lodge program, applicants

  • Must meet State of Iowa requirements for serious and persistent mental illness such as schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, bipolar disorder, or major depressive disorder
  • Must be committed to taking medication as prescribed by a mental health provider
  • Must be alcohol and drug free once you’ve been accepted
  • Must be physically able to work in a Shelter House business on a part-time basis


  • Download program application here and return to Sarah Clutter, Fairweather Lodge Case Manager, sarah.clutter@shelterhouseiowa.org or call (319) 530-4729
  • Interview with the Fairweather Lodge Coordinator
  • Meet with Fairweather Lodge staff and psychiatrist
  • The admissions team will follow up with applicants and notify them of acceptance into the program