IOWA CITY, Iowa — More than $3 million has been awarded to build a first-of-its-kind housing development for the chronically homeless in Iowa City.
The Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors recently awarded $2.7 million to Shelter House for the housing development, the Press-Citizen reported . That’s on top of a $463,000 grant from the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, according to Shelter House Executive Director Crissy Canganelli.
Together, the funds are expected to cover construction and furnishing for the planned two-story project.
The plan includes 24 one-bedroom apartments that will cater to the chronically homeless and frequent service users. The building would also include offices and an exam room for case managers and health and behavioral health providers.
The project is part of the Frequent Users Systems Engagement-Housing First initiative, a local effort begun in 2013. Canganelli said the initiative is intended to serve the homeless caught in a cycle of arrests, emergency room visits, treatment centers and other service agency use.
The Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board, a network of 20 local agencies, launched a study that tracked the costs of four local frequent service users from 2009 to the middle of 2014. The study found that taxpayer costs for the four totaled about $2.16 million — an average cost of $140,000 per person per year.
“Other communities have done this analysis, and other communities have made the case for Housing First intervention,” Canganelli said. “They have been tremendously successful both in reducing cost of services for individuals and, frankly, saving lives by using Housing First intervention for this cohort.”
Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/