The number of individuals experiencing homelessness or near-homelessness in the Cedar Rapids area has increased in recent months due to the Covid-19 pandemic. When businesses closed because of health concerns, some workers lost their jobs, and this meant they couldn’t pay rent and utilities. Some households have yet to recover.
At Willis Dady Homeless Services, recovery for homeless or near-homeless individuals and families is the goal. “We empower our clients to break the cycle of homelessness and become self-sufficient,” says Emily Zimmon, development director. “We work with clients directly, one-on-one, to coach and support them and give them the tools they need to find their forever home.”
Willis Dady receives support from community members, businesses, and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, which recently helped the nonprofit secure state funding in the form of tax credits to offset the cost of 13 apartments to house homeless individuals and families. Apartment residents receive support from Willis Dady caseworkers to manage their jobs, health, and family lives.
“It’s thanks to support from the Cedar Rapids community that we can continue providing individual case management and support to each and every client at Willis Dady,” says Zimmon. “We are grateful to be a part of such a supportive community.”
Willis Dady organizes fundraisers throughout the year. This fall, the nonprofit is asking Cedar Rapids residents and businesses to donate backpacks packed with a blanket, a pair of socks, a warm pair of gloves, a hat, a folder, non-perishable food, and toiletry items. The stocked backpacks will be distributed to individuals experiencing homelessness and near-homelessness during the cold winter months ahead. Please visit the nonprofit’s website for more information: willisdady.org
“The past few years have been difficult for many local families, and we’ve witnessed their suffering firsthand,” says Zimmon. “But Willis Dady continues to step up to the plate to support as many people as possible.”
Willis Dady Homeless Services
1247 4th Ave. SE
Ph: (319) 362-7555
Visit willisdady.org for more information.