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Housing Is The Solution Campaign

Updated: Oct 26, 2023


Willis Dady’s Housing Is The Solution Campaign has met our goal of fundraising $50,000 for our critical programs. Thank YOU so much for donating, sharing about our campaign, and engaging with our stories throughout the last two months. It is only because of you that we are able to celebrate this win, and look forward to engaging our community further throughout the holiday season.

What does $50,000 do for Willis Dady? Here are some quick ways that this amount of money can impact our mission and services to individuals and families experiencing homelessness in Eastern Iowa:

· 1,642 nights of Emergency Shelter for individuals and families experiencing homelessness in our community!

· Provide 35 households with security deposit & first month’s rent, moving them into a new apartment!

· Ensure that 1 of our Supportive Housing homes, that provide 4-5 people experiencing chronic homelessness an affordable and safe place to stay, is heated and open for a whole year.

In case you are just now joining us in our campaign, the Housing Is The Solution Campaign highlighted 3 stories of former Willis Dady clients with a common thread. This thread showed that no matter what programs they were enrolled in, the ultimate solution to their cycle of homelessness was housing. Check out their stories below:

Susie’s Story:

Two years ago, Susie* suffered a major heart attack which almost took her life. She was placed on life support, but this wasn't the only support she needed. Susie went to her sister and brother-in-law’s home to continue recovering when she was discharged from the hospital. She was unable to work and found herself drowning in medical debt.

Susie made the decision to return to Cedar Rapids to be closer to resources and job opportunities. She checked into the Community Overflow Shelter. During this time she was approved by her doctor to work one day a week, and Susie began going to the library to update her resume and search for jobs. As the winter Overflow season was wrapping up, Susie was nervous about sleeping outside. Our Shelter Services Director, Denine, was able to transition Susie to a spot at our emergency shelter and she gladly took it!

Susie worked with our Shelter Manager, Faith, to get connected to housing services. She was referred to Rapid Re-Housing and was able to work with her case manager to determine her needs and goals. Finally, Susie was cleared to work more hours and began working part-time at a hotel. She continued searching for housing and after a month found an apartment! Little by little, she has added hours to her schedule and is furthering her career. She will exit Rapid Re-Housing in September and has a good savings account set up for the future.

Sharon’s Story:

In October of 2022, Sharon* was enrolled into our PSH program and moved into our women’s only PSH home called Cedar House. Our Permanent Supportive Housing Case Manager, Maxine, was able to begin case management with Sharon, identifying her barriers to maintaining housing and goals to gain stability. Sharon self-identified barriers of anger and paranoia that they have been working through in case management. Maxine shared that Sharon’s paranoia caused her to struggle with living in the shared housing environment of Cedar House and had frequent interpersonal conflicts that impacted her job stability due to lack of anger management skills. “Sharon struggled in the house for a while learning how to leave with 4 other women also struggling with their own mental illnesses” shared Maxine. Through referrals to mental health counselors, individualized coaching and skill building with Maxine, and access to resources to meet her basic needs, Sharon has made tremendous growth. Maxine reports that today Sharon is up to date on her rent, attends regular therapy sessions, and has identified additional barriers with goals to address them. “In the short amount of time that Sharon has been with us, she has been able to make large strides in her mental health and has started down great pathways to become self-sufficient again” shared Maxine.

Mike’s Story:

"I first met Mike at Overflow in January 2020. After I learned that he was a veteran I referred him to our Veterans program," shared Shannon who at the time was an Overflow Resident Assistant. After the referral, Mike joined Willis Dady's Grant Per Diem (GPD) program in February 2020. The GPD Program has 10 beds reserved, through a contract with the Veterans Affairs (VA), at our emergency shelter for Veterans experiencing homelessness.

During this time, Mike was not receptive to case management and struggled with substance abuse. Due to non-compliance with program guidelines, Mike was asked to leave shelter. After being exited from shelter he returned to overflow, which was open year-round in 2020 due to the derecho and COVID. "While back at Overflow I saw that Mike continued to struggle with sobriety and getting into trouble."

Even though Mike was supported in his sobriety, he unfortunately relapsed and was unable to continue in the GPD program. During the exiting process, Shannon told Mike "I can't want this more than you" and encouraged Mike to find options that would support his sobriety and long-term housing stability. Mike applied for Hope CDA's year-long rehabilitation program. Throughout the program Mike kept in touch with Shannon, sharing updates on his sobriety and employment. He has been clean since November of 2021 and graduated in 2022. Upon graduation he got several construction job offers and is still housed. He has remained clean ever since, counting each day as a new record of sobriety.

*Client names have been changed for anonymity.

Thank you so much for your support of Willis Dady’s Housing Is The Solution Campaign!

If you are looking for other ways to give back, we are currently in the midst of our Winter Coat, Hat & Gloves drive! Bring any gently used or new coats, hats, gloves, or scarves to Willis Dady! We are running this donation drive until November 3rd, but give us a call and we can accept them on an as-needed basis throughout the rest of the winter season.

We’ve also updated our Holiday Giving Guide and Wishlist for the winter season! Check them out at

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