Temporary shelter could be coming to Iowa City for the winter months

Photo by Kris Hirst
Organizers behind the temporary homeless shelter hope to keep more individuals off the streets in freezing Iowa temperatures. — photo by Kris Hirst via Flickr Creative Commons

Iowa City could gain a temporary homeless shelter for the winter months thanks to efforts by the Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board and Shelter House.

The proposed plan is to adapt the former Aldi building (1534 S. Gilbert St.) into a sufficient living space that would also welcome the “service resistant.” This includes those who are unable to stay at Shelter House, oftentimes due to struggles with alcohol or drugs, according to Shelter House Executive Director Crissy Canganelli.

The Iowa City City Council will vote tonight on whether it will allocate $20,000 to the project. Organizers needs about $67 thousand in order to launch, and the board is in the process of obtaining funds from other cities and agencies as well.

“We will need a modest amount of time (no more than a couple of weeks) to apply for the required Temporary Use Permit, address minimal deficiencies within the building, secure necessary supplies and staff,” wrote Canganelli in an email to Little Village. “In the meantime we are still waiting for responses from other funders.”

Last year’s winter saw dozens of homeless people sleeping in the Iowa City City Hall building due to overcapacity at the Iowa City Shelter House, while others resorted to sleeping outside in freezing temperatures.

The temporary shelter, which would remain in operation through February, would serve between 20-25 nightly, Canganelli says.

At the moment, Shelter House is the only homeless center in Johnson County, located at 429 Southgate Ave. in Iowa City. It offers 56 beds plus another 14 reserved for veterans.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »



Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.