Our Story

our story

Shelter House was founded in 1983 by the Consultation of Religious Communities. We worked with the City of Iowa City to purchase a home, where we were able to provide 29 sleeping spaces including beds, couches, and mats on the floor for men, women, and families. It became clear to us over time that the small building was limiting our ability to serve. Our community was growing very quickly, and we recognized the need for someone to address the increase of people seeking shelter and services.
In 1994, with additional funding support from our community, we added a baseline of support services to help people address the issues that had brought them to our front door. From 1994 into the early 2000’s, we invested much of our time and resources into building a new 70 bed facility and expanding our services to help people move beyond homelessness.
We evolved in a relatively short time from being a service that just provided a bed to sleep in and a roof over someone’s head to a spectrum of extensive support services such as case management, life skills supports, vocational training, on-site job training, housing mental health services, and veterans’ services. Today, we are so much more than a roof and a bed.

Shelter House began in an old home in Iowa City with a capacity of 29 sleeping spaces including beds, couches, and mats on the floor. Today we run a 70 bed facility and provide a variety of services to move people beyond homelessness.


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