Iowa City Housing Information

Housing & Homeless Needs Assesment: Homeless Needs:
Service Needs for Homeless Populations


I. Development of the 2001-2006 Consolidation Plan (CITY STEPS) II. Housing & Homeless Needs Assesment III. Housing Market Analysis IV. Strategic Plan V. Certifications VI. Appendices
A. General Estimated Housing Needs B. Housing Needs Assesment C. Homeless Needs D. Supportive Housing Needs of Non Homeless Special Needs Populations E. Lead Based Paint Hazards
1. Nature & Extent of Homelessness 2. Facility Needs for Homeless Populations 3. Service Needs for Homeless Populations

3. Service Needs for Homeless Populations

The public service needs of persons who are homeless are not significantly different from the needs of others in the community who are trying to provide themselves and their families with food, shelter, clothing and opportunity. These needs include, but are not limited to child care, medical services, psychological treatment, substance abuse counseling, living skills, job training, education, transportation, rent assistance, and financial resources.

The network of social service agencies developed to assist homeless and other low-income families in meeting these needs is extensive and extremely well developed in Iowa City. Lack of financial resources and in sufficient capacity often limits the numbers of persons these programs can serve.

As in many smaller communities across the nation, referrals to shelters and other services come from many different sources. The Crisis Center (an emergency services agency), the emergency shelters, the Salvation Army, local churches, and the State's Department of Human Services all serve as referral resources for those seeking assistance. Once initial contact is made at any of these and other agencies, consumers are directed to appropriate service providers throughout the community. The transportation expense and inconvenience of piecing together needed services, the difficulties in securing child care in order to meet with different providers at different times and locations, and the repetitive paperwork requirements for receiving service can be frustrating, chaotic, and overwhelming for individuals whose lives are already in crisis. Easily accessible referral centers, and a shared computer database among service providers are solutions to this problem.

Fortunately, there has been some centralization of services in the Eastdale Plaza on the east side of Iowa City. This has helped some clients, but those in need of the Iowa City Housing Authority or the Johnson County Department of Health still need to access the downtown area. One solution to this problem has been the advent of the free shuttle bus, which makes two routes around the downtown area.

The Johnson County Council of Governments (JCCOG) currently funds a Human Services Coordinator position whose responsibilities include assisting in the development and organization of a cohesive and efficient service system. This position is an important aspect of Iowa City's reputation for excellent social services.

Service needs for homeless persons with special needs are often more extensive and require more coordination of shelter staff and community resources. The basic service needs of these individuals are not significantly different from others but may include mental health services, medical attention, and accessibility considerations as well as other concerns specific to each client. A more extensive discussion of public service needs can be found in Section IV. E. Non-Housing Community Development Needs Assessment.

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