To better assist those experiencing homelessness in the Jasper County area, Discover Hope 517 announced last week it is seeking donations to establish a resource center at its Newton headquarters where individuals can stay for a few months and be provided any extra assistance they may need.
In total, the addiction recovery organization and ministry must raise $800,000 to make the resource center possible. Cody Daugherty, campus director of Discover Hope 517, said the organization has had several interactions with displaced people or people without homes.
“Unfortunately there is such a lack of resources for them,” Daugherty said. “It’s hard because you want to be able to meet their immediate need and get them shelter, but it’s a long process to be able to get them to a sustainable living environment. That is where the idea for the resource center came from.”
Discover Hope 517 wants to be able to remove people from homelessness and house them in its facilities, 733 First Ave. E. The 10-bed resource center would be built on the east side of the building and would provide 60 to 90 days of shelter while staff assesses their needs and the next steps they need to take.
In a press release from the organization, it states those next steps can be admitting people into Discover Hope’s restoration house for transitional living, providing mental health resource assistance, finding permanent home placement or entering inpatient drug and alcohol treatment.
“We’d be able to help them out with that while taking care of those base needs,” Daugherty said. “You’re going to have shelter. We’re going to feed you. You’re going to have hot showers. All of that stuff so they can really focus on those other things. We’ll take care of everything else.”
Some organizations or agencies in the past have put individuals in hotels to provide immediate shelter or transport them to a Des Moines shelter or mission. But Daugherty said hotel stays give no accountability and cannot provide means to end homelessness. Plus, many people want to stay in their community.
Which is where the resource center would come into play.
“Maybe they need help in finding a job or maybe they’ve got a history that stops them from getting their driver’s license,” Daugherty said. “It can be a number of things. We want to have resource officers there that can meet them where they’re at, assess that need and work with them to overcome those barriers.”
Homelessness may not be as visible as it is in larger metro cities, but the issue does affect a number of individuals in Newton and Jasper County.
Oftentimes the public’s perception of homelessness is seen as people who have nowhere to stay, but Daugherty said while that is true there are others who are sleeping on a friend’s couch; but they still lack the stability to be able to assess the steps forward to get out of that situation and have their own home.
As an addiction recovery organization, Discover Hope 517 offers a number of different support services in the evenings, has its community center open on weekdays, provides free lunches to the community every day from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and is in the process of opening its restoration house.
The 10-bed restoration house is transitional housing for men, which Daugherty said ties in with the resource center. About 95 percent of Discover Hope’s budget consists of private donations from the community. Daugherty said the ministry is in dire need of community support to create the resource center.
“In order for us to be able to have this resource center and have it be an asset to the community, we’re going to have to have help from the community,” Daugherty said. “We’re asking the community for help. We know this might not be the entire solution for the homelessness problem, but it’s a really good one.”
To learn more about Discover Hope, visit the facility from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., call 641-841-0598 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.