The Micah House will expand its services for homeless single women and families, including strengthening its medical services.
The nonprofit organization announced the public phase of its Shelter Reimagined campaign to raise $3.6 million for a shelter expansion and additional services on Thursday.
“This campaign provides momentum, moving Micah House forward, and allows us to offer more resources and a one-of-a-kind shelter for hundreds of women experiencing homelessness right here in our community,” said Micah House Executive Director Jaymes Sime. "It’s going to do tremendous things for the folks we serve."
Micah House is located on North 16th Street in the Charles E. Lakin Human Service campus and is an emergency homeless shelter that serves single women and families in the Council Bluffs metro area and southwest Iowa. According to the organization, Micah House provides safe shelter, nutritious meals, case management services, health care access and adult budgeting classes.
The organization raised $2.1 million during the "quiet" phase of the capital campaign, leaving an additional $1.5 million left to reach the final goal.
The new shelter area, already under construction, will expand Micah House’s capacity to serve an additional 250 women and 24 families per year, the organization said. In 2017, the homeless shelter served 59 women and 217 families. Sime explained that the shelter takes in single women as well as couples or single parents with children. The facility currently has 23 rooms — 21 for families and two for single women that have two beds apiece.
After the construction work is completed on the expansion, the facility will have 23 rooms for families and 10 rooms with a total of 26 beds for single women.
The organization said on any given day it currently has more than 200 women on a waiting list seeking shelter and support services. The new addition will create a space "unlike traditional homeless shelters," according to the Micah House.
"We’re being really intentional about making it a therapeutic and healing environment for these women," Sime said, noting everything from paint colors to flooring is being considered to create a warm environment.
"We know if we can get them on the process of healing, then we can address the issues of homelessness," Sime said. "If we don’t deal with previous trauma, these women and families will continue to cycle through programs and systems."
The capital campaign will also renovate the existing first floor space into a 1,100 square-foot clinic in partnership with All Care Health Center. The area will feature three exam rooms and dental space.
Along with All Care, Micah House is partnering with Heartland Family Service, the Women’s Center for Advancement and Youth Emergency Services to increase services for the homeless.
Heartland Family Service will provide a staff therapist at Micah House, while the shelter will have four beds for both the Women’s Center for Advancement and Youth Emergency Services, which often refer clients to the Micah House.
"They’re serving the homeless population as well. The entry point into their programs is different than ours," Sime said.
Donors during the quiet phase of Shelter Reimagined included Black Hills Energy, Conagra, First Capital Partners, the Iowa West Foundation, the Lozier Foundation, Mutual of Omaha, the Peter Kiewit Foundation, the Sherwood Foundation, TS Bank and an anonymous donor.
TS Bank executive Josh Guttau and daughter Shianne are co-chairing the Shelter Reimagined fundraising campaign.
Guttau and his wife, Shelly, knew their adopted daughter had spent some time homeless as a young child with her biological family, and Shianne remembered constantly moving from shelter to shelter, including the Micah House, according to a Micah House release.
“It’s comforting to know that children who are struggling in the same way I did have a safe place to go,” Shianne said in the release. “I’m not sure where I would be today without resources like Micah House.”