Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get into Shelter House?
To become a resident at Shelter House, you start by signing up for the Priority List, which happens in-person at 6PM every day. After signing up for the Priority List we serve a dinner, then let those on the wait list know if they got a bed that night

But I work at 6PM. What do I do?
In that instance, we require a copy of your work schedule before 6PM on the night you would like to sign up for the Priority List. Your name can be added ahead of time, and you will need to call after 6PM to see if you got a bed, and then come to Shelter House as soon after your shift ends as possible to utilize your bed.

Do you accept families?
Yes, we do accept families! We have six family rooms, which can fit 1-2 families, depending on family size.

Can you drive me to Shelter House?
No, we do not provide transportation to Shelter House. From downtown Iowa City, the Broadway, Cross Park, and Lakeside buses stop near our building.

What if I do not get into Shelter House that night?
Unfortunately, as Johnson County’s only all-purpose shelter, we do not have an overflow location we can send people to if they do not get in, so we recommend anybody signing up for the wait list set up a secondary form of shelter in case they do not get in that night. If you continue to keep signing up for the wait list every night, your odds of getting in increase.

How long can I stay at Shelter House?
Clients can stay at Shelter House for up to 45 days in a calendar year.

What stops me from staying at Shelter House?
There are a few things that can stop you from staying with us. The first is if you have used up all of your 45 days or if you have a temporary or permanent eviction. The second is if you are on the Sex Offender Registry, as we have children staying at Shelter House. The final reason is if you come to Shelter House under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs, as we are a dry shelter. However, when our Winter Emergency Shelter is in operation, these barriers do not apply.

How much stuff can I bring with me?
Any individual or family will have limited storage space (a locker for individuals and a few shelves for families), so be sure to limit what you are bringing in to only the necessities.

Can I stay in during the day?
Clients must be out of the building from 8AM-5PM during the week and 10AM-5PM on the weekends to allow for programs, meetings, and other events. Clients are not allowed to stay in during the day, except in extreme weather circumstances. They are encouraged to work and/or meet with case managers by scheduling appointments during the day to work on the steps needed to move beyond homelessness.

Will I have a case manager when I am there?
Yes, you will. After a few days, you will be assigned a case manager. Your case manager can help you with different resources you may need, like a bus pass to get to work, clothes for work, and help with finding permanent housing and employment. There is an expectation that you will save 75% of your income with your case manager to allow you to have money to pay for deposit and rent when you find permanent housing.

Will you help me find a job?
We provide a Job Lab four days week where you will be able to look and apply for jobs online, as well as get help with your resume and cover letter. Additionally, we have dedicated staff members who work to get our clients connected with jobs. If you are willing to work, we are hopeful that we can connect you to a job.

Will you find me a place to live?
Your case manager can help point you in the right direction of where to apply and our Rapid Rehousing program can help pay for part of your deposit and rent to help you move out of Shelter House faster. This process will still require you to apply and follow-up in order to make the housing happen. Our help will only go as far as your hard work.