Stuck in the system: What’s hampering homeless help in the QC

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Local 4 News has been exploring the many challenges when it comes to ending homelessness. 

We end our series of special reports with possible solutions to stem those growing numbers.

That ranges from tackling the root of the problem to managing the symptoms.

Local 4’s Tahera Rahman shows us what she found in part three of her special report. 

“Homelessness is merely a symptom of a variety of factors,” says Melody Williams, resident services coordinator at Christian Care. 

Williams and other Quad Cities advocates are working to tackle that symptom by implementing a plan called Coordinated Entry.

That means making it easier for people who are trying to find help. 

“Instead of a homeless person go from one shelter to the next shelter to the next looking for a bed to stay that night, every shelter door they walk in, they would be redirected to this central hub,” Williams explains.  

That’s where an employee would direct a person to the facility that fits their needs. 

But right now, every single shelter in the QC is full. 

“We’ve plugged the system,” says Christie Anderson, COO of Humility Homes and Services.  

And while more shelters might help in the short term, Anderson says it’s not the answer. 

“That’s not going to help unless you address advocacy for more affordable housing,” she says.

“Because otherwise you’re going to have the exact same problem as we have now, which is people are going to get stuck in the front end of the system and we’re not going to be able to get them out.” 

Advocates say city leaders need to step up, like offering incentives for landlords to keep rents affordable.

“If we have enough services sort of at every level, then the quicker people move through the system, the less you see people on the streets because there’ll be more beds available here,” Adamson says. 

And in the meantime, they say there are ways neighbors can be responsible while trying to help those experiencing homelessness. 

“Always going out in pairs, always make sure you’re wearing proper gear– People are sleeping outside and are surviving in ways that their living area may not be safe for you,” Adamson says.  

But she says the best case scenario is to combine efforts. 

“Have those amazing community members that are willing to donate their time and energy and talents, sort of plug in to the bigger system so then we can all have a bigger impact,” says Adamson.  

While all of the shelters in our area are currently at capacity, experts say if they can’t help house you they always try to connect you to another resource. 

Humility of Mary is the largest and only low-barrier emergency shelter for adults in the QCA. 

Christian Care has limited screening for adult men. 

Family Resources offers shelter for families experiencing domestic abuse. 

King’s Harvest offers seasonal shelter from November through April. 

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