Linn County homeless shelter will remain open 24/7 through April; LIFTS begins delivering groceries and prescriptions

The Fillmore Center, Nov. 14, 2019. — Izabela Zaluska/Little Village

Linn County’s overflow shelter for people experiencing homelessness will stay open through April. The Linn County Board of Supervisors approved the extension during its meeting on Monday.

The overflow shelter opened last November at the county-owned Fillmore Center, 520 11th St NW. The shelter’s services are provided by Willis Dady Homeless Services.

The overflow shelter is normally open from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m. every day of the week, but changed its hours to 24/7 on March 16 in response to COVID-19. Willis Dady is keeping sections of the shelter empty in case anyone needs to be quarantined, increasing cleaning and sanitizing practices, and having people sleep head-to-toe in cots instead of head-to-head, KCRG reported.

“Until the public libraries, transportation center, and schools are reopened we anticipate staying open 24/7 to our clients,” Willis Dady director Phoebe Trepp said in an update on March 20.

In the update, Trepp also wrote that the shelter is seeking donations of paper plates, hand soap, hand sanitizer, dish soap, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, toilet paper and Kleenex. Donations can be dropped off at 1247 4th Ave SE, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

LIFTS begins delivering groceries and prescriptions

The Board of Supervisors also voted to allow Linn County LIFTS to start delivering groceries and prescriptions to county residents in addition to providing rides.

The grocery delivery program will serve seniors, individuals with disabilities and others who are considered at-risk of getting COVID-19 who lack transportation. The groceries will be delivered to the front door, and there will be no direct interaction between those delivering groceries and the customer, LIFTS director Tom Hardecopf said during Monday’s Board of Supervisors meeting.

“This is not a general population service, although if somebody has zero opportunity, if they have taken the bus and they cannot make it to a grocery store, we certainly would try to get that taken care of,” Hardecopf said. “It’s an expansion of what we normally do, taking people to the grocery store. Instead we would like to take the groceries to the people to eliminate the social interactions of people.”

Cedar Rapids Transit suspended its services until at least April 13 but LIFTS continues to provide rides for essential trips, prioritizing rides for seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Both rides and deliveries will be available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. People who want to request a ride or delivery can call LIFTS at 319-892-5170 and are asked to call at least one day in advance.

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