Crisis shelter program is Lunch and Learn topic

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Heather Kriener, Housing Resource Specialist with Friends of the Family, Waterloo, was the program presenter for the Family Resource Center's monthly Lunch and Learn Program on Dec. 5. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

Friends of the Family is on a mission to provide safe shelter, confidential services, and housing assistance to individuals in crisis due to homelessness, domestic violence, sexual assault, and human trafficking. 

Through education and community engagement, Friends of the Family seeks a future free of violence and homelessness. 

Heather Kriener, Housing Resource Specialist and representative for Friends of the Family, presented her program at the monthly Lunch and Learn on Thursday, Dec. 5, in the education room at the Guttenberg Municipal Hospital & Clinics (GMHC). 

Friends of the family covers a 14-county service area from their  main offices located in  Waverly and Waterloo and outreach offices in Cedar Rapids, Decorah, Dubuque and Mason City. 

Kriener's presentation highlighted Friends of the Family services including:  violence prevention; homeless services; victim services and volunteer opportunities. 

Landlord partners

Friends of the Family is seeking individuals in Clayton County who would like to partner with their program to help individuals experiencing crisis. 

She explained, "When someone is in an abusive situation and they are no longer safe in their own home, they need a place to stay. They are often faced with the difficult decision to remove themselves from harm's way as quickly as they can." 

She continued, "We are looking for individuals who would like to provide housing for individuals or families that are facing housing barriers to secure and maintain housing." 

Housing is needed for short-term rapid rehousing, 1-6 months of rental assistance; medium-term rapid rehousing, 4-24 months of rental assistance and permanent supportive housing with no designated length of stay. 

Partnering with Friends of the Family 

Kriener stressed, "Our clients have a strong desire to succeed. They are often hardworking individuals who are committed to improving their lives and creating a safe environment for themselves and their children." 

There are many benefits for a landlord to become involved with the Friends of the Family program:

•Education to assure tenants are successful in maintaining their rental unit. 

•Supportive case management for tenants. 

•Assistance to landlords in filling units quickly to save marketing costs and shorten length of time units are vacant.

•Regular inspections of units by program staff throughout tenancy. 

•Direct payment to the landlord for all or a portion of rent. 

•Checks issued twice a month (10th and 25th) for convenience. 

•Designated point of contact to call if problems arise. 

Kriener commented, "We are looking for landlords in the area who are willing to supply rehousing locations — someone who is willing to help individuals get back on their feet." 

She added, "Caseworkers visit each family every other week to ensure the rental unit is being well taken care of. Because of our contact and support, if a problem arises we can address it quickly." 

For additional information or if you would like to become involved in the landlord partnership contact the Housing Resource Specialist at (319)-596-5470 or Homeless Resource Specialist at (319)-239-6817 or find them online at fofia.org.

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