Combating homelessness in the QCA
Part One: Shelter addresses homelessness in community
With cold weather moving in, homeless shelters are filling up. Two men facing homelessness in the Quad Cities found themselves having a hard time finding help but a local shelter came to their rescue.
When you drive in downtown Davenport. It's hard to miss the scenery, but like the Mississippi River that overflows a community problem continues to swell.
“Without assistance, we would probably be floating in that river, said Nicholas Johnson, who’s currently homeless.
TV-6 first met Paul and Nicholas last week, sleeping outside the pavilion building at LeClaire Park. Two men from out of town without jobs and with medical disabilities. TV-6 tried to get them help. After checking several agencies, we found Humility of Mary.
(We find them sleeping) “Under a bridge, underneath the pavilion, sometimes it can be as close as a park down the street from us,” said Christie Adamson, Chief Operating Officer with Humility of Mary.
So close yet still not within reach for these two disabled men, so Christie Adamson with Humility of Mary had to come to them. She says as a community it takes coming together and understanding the root of the problem.
“The problem we are having here at the shelter is that we are taking people in and then we are struggling to find places to put people because there is not enough affordable units for people, who are very low income,” said Adamson.
In the seven years, that Adamson has worked for Humility of Mary. She says homelessness has not gotten any less.
“Over the last couple of years, we have seen an increase in new faces said Adamson. “Meaning that people are sort of entering the homeless system that haven't before,”
So, the pavilion at LeClaire Park has become a safe haven for many. The hard benches becoming a place to rest their head.
“Its survival day by day, that's what we are in,” said Paul D, who’s currently homeless.
Adamson also says their goal is to help people find a home to call their own.
“We definitely don't want anyone to think that once you are in the shelter that this is a permeant destination, it's not,” said Adamson. “This is just a temporary step along the way to you getting into the housing of your choice in the community,”
We reached out to the Salvation Army and found that they can only help families right now. Kings Harvest shelter does not open until winter.
Part Two: Community members step in to help men in need
Two men suddenly faced with homelessness are now trying to get back on their feet. Two community members saw their struggles and stepped in to help.
From every angle to every corner Dwain Womack is determined to get these wheelchairs cleaned and in working order. He’s getting them ready for some new friends, who ran into a recent string of bad luck.
As he pushes the chairs the excitement is real because the hard work was all meant for his friends Paul and Nicholas. Womack met them a couple weeks ago.
“Within the last two weeks almost all of their stuff they had were stolen,” said Womack, who stepped in to help.
So he and his wife Sara became friends with them. They brought them dinner and decided to buy them the used wheelchairs.
“I was brought up where you always try to give back to people that need help,” said Womack. “I’ve been in situations myself where I have been pretty close to being homeless,”
Paul and Nicholas moved here from out of town. Nicholas came because of a relative and fell ill. Paul had a job but lost it after an accident.
“I was hitchhiking up to Wisconsin and a car hit me doing 50, that's why I am in a wheelchair,” said Paul.
They quickly found themselves calling the pavilion at LeClaire Park their home.
“We sleep on the tables which is very uncomfortable, but so is the concrete and it's better than nothing,” said Nicholas.
“Everything’s been stolen from us, cell phones, my wallets been stolen,” said Paul.
Womack and his wife recently started helping people in need. They say doing this has opened their eyes to the problem of homelessness’s in the QCA.
“It just breaks my heart,” said Womack.
Kelly Cook with the People Project QC has also been a helping hand. She’s been collecting clothes for people in need and that's how she met Nicholas and Paul.
“Took them to go get their medicine, took them to get their glasses, prescription filled,” said Cook.
Nicholas and Paul say without the help of the community, they don't know where they would be.
“A lot of good people out there that are helping us,” said Nicholas.
Although this is not the life they chose, they say they wish more people would understand.
“We really aren't animals; I mean once upon time we were productive members of society,” said Nicholas. “Sometimes life just gets you down,”
“You know everyone is one check away from disaster, just don't look down on us. We are human beings,” said Paul.
Nick and Paul may not have much, but they know they have people in the community looking out for them.
When TV-6 first met Paul and Nicholas, one of the hardships they faced was the City of Davenport did not want them staying at LeClaire Park. We reached out to the city to see the park policies and how long people can stay there. We did not hear back.
Paul and Nicholas have been taken in by Humility of Mary in Davenport. The shelter is working to find them permanent housing.
Womack and his wife are always accepting clothes and donations to help people in need. For more information on how you can help contact Dwain Womack on Facebook.
Womack and the Quad City storm have also partnered together. The storm fans are having a food drive and blanket drive on October 20th. Two men and a truck have donated boxes and a truck for Womack to pick up all donations.
Kelly Cook also collects clothes for those in need. You can learn more about People Project QC by searching for them on Facebook.
Humility of Mary has many services to help those in need call 563-322-8065.