For the past five years, Crawford Hall Family Shelter in Boone has helped meet the needs of 78 homeless families, which includes 348 individuals. It has helped with the successful transition to permanency and flourishing of many of these families.
While we celebrate what has been done at Crawford Hall, homelessness in Boone continues to be a growing challenge. Recently, the Crawford Hall Board came together with the new owners, Third Place, Inc., to consider what the next step for Crawford Hall should be in order to meet even more of these needs. A few goals were identified: to help entire families; to find more sustainable funding for the transition of families to permanent housing; and to partner with an experienced agency that will help to take these next steps. On June 30th, 2017, the shelter closed for cleaning and renovations to prepare the building for its next step.
In light of these goals, Central Iowa Community Services (CICS), the mental health regional service system serving Boone County, started looking at the feasibility of utilizing Crawford Hall as a Family Transition Center. A Family Transition Center would provide shelter and supports for a family. It would utilize regional funding, would be run by a Human Services agency, and would be staffed 24-7. CICS would also work with Cornerstone Church of Ames, Stonebridge Church of Boone and other area churches to develop a plan for how additional space at Crawford Hall could best be used.
Currently, CICS is conducting a “Request for Information”, by which information regarding the need for a Family Transition Center in central Iowa is gathered from various community service agencies. This study will be concluded by mid-September. At that time, the administrative and governance boards for CICS will make a final decision on whether or not to put a family transition center in Boone and in Crawford Hall. Assuming that passes, the board will then put out a “Request for Proposal” to various organizations in October. At that point, organizations will bid for the opportunity to run the family transition center at Crawford Hall. Any construction or remodeling that needs to be done to make the family transition center function well will be done after that. Our hope is for the family transition center to be up and running by the end of 2017.
How can you be involved?
There will be a lot of opportunities for the community of Boone to be involved in this process. These include:
- Cleaning – We will have a lot of cleaning and demo to do to prepare the building for remodeling.
- Remodeling – We will be looking for skilled labor to help the building be ready for its next phase.
- Mentoring families – There will be a need for families to walk with other families as allies and mentors as they work through the transition process.
- Childcare for transitional families – Many of these families will be helped by low cost or free childcare.
- Transportation for families – Quite a few of these families do not have adequate transportation and will need help getting rides to appointments, work, etc.
- Giving toward the transition center – The transition center will have a 6-digit annual budget, plus remodeling costs.
- Raising funds for the transition center – We will also need folks who will help raise funds for the transition center.
What’s happening now?
On Saturday July 8th, over 60 volunteers showed up to help get rid of trash, old appliances, carpet, and much more to start preparations for remodeling. There will be more opportunities in the coming months to be a part of small-scale demolition and construction. We will be grateful for anyone who would like to volunteer to be a part of this. See the signup form below.
Immediate steps you can take:
- Join our e-mail list and indicate your involvement interest by filling out the following short form.
- Like our Facebook page.