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Summer heat brings in more families to eastern Iowa shelter

KCRG | VIDEO| Shelter House is an overnight emergency shelter that holds 70 clients. Monday night, it was nearly at capacity. Development Director Angelica Vannatta said the summer months bring in more families in need of a place to stay.

“Some of that has to do with school not being in session any longer,” Vannatta said.

However, she said heat is a factor. Some may believe winter could be tougher on the homeless, but Vannatta said she believes the two seasons are equal.

“Heat is actually the number one weather-related cause of death in the United States, things like heat exhaustion and heat stroke can cause death,” she said. “I think our body is more tuned to the frigid weather and we can kind of feel that more so than when we’re getting bogged down by the heat.”

With an increase in clients and temperature, the financial aspect of operating a shelter can be difficult. In the summer months, Shelter House sees higher electric and water bills.

“When it’s really hot and sticky outside, all we want is to be clean, so we’re doing a lot more laundry than we typically are, and a lot more showers,” Vannatta said.

To help offset the extra costs, the shelter is holding a fundraising campaign. It has recruited some prominent eastern Iowans to help including Senator Bob Dvorsky.

“You have more whole families that are homeless, that’s a major problem for everybody in society, and I think if we can deal with that by getting some increased resources here that’s a great thing to do,” Dvorsky said. “Homeless people are sort of invisible, and we need to know that we do have people in our community like that, and there are needs.”

The Beat the Heat Splash campaign’s goal is to raise $10,000 by August 15. Each time the amount raised reaches $5,000; one of the volunteers will take the “Ice Bucket Challenge.”


By Brea Love, KCRG-TV9 | Posted: Mon 4:08 PM, Jul 30, 2018 | Updated: Mon 7:17 PM, Jul 30, 2018