- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) - An organization helping the homeless in Waterloo is raising money to buy a house because it needs more shelter space.

The Catholic Worker House, which houses individuals and families in need, is trying to raise $45,000 to buy a house near the two it already owns.

The group, which was founded 34 years ago, has raised about one-third of the money through a fundraising letter sent to about 600 people on a mailing list, the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reported (https://bit.ly/1RZPtkV ).

Fran Fuller, one of four full-time volunteers, said the group is seeing an increase in the need for shelter. Its house for men has five beds and three couches, which staffers say are regularly full.

“It’s just more people coming to the door,” Fuller said.

The group hopes the new house, which has been used for years as a rental property, would provide seven to 10 beds for men. The house for women and families has four beds and can take four adults and their children, if they can share beds.

The funds for the new space are an “urgent need” with the cold weather, Fuller said. The organization considered buying the same house when it was last for sale years ago, but it decided the timing wasn’t right.

“We thought maybe the time is just right to try again,” Fuller said.

The Catholic Worker House doesn’t accept federal money and its workers are unpaid. Because of that, Fuller said the houses can operate at a fraction of a cost of other services.

In the past year, the organization has received about $25,000 in donations, which has been used to cover utilities, property taxes and property maintenance, as well as to provide 10 days of shelter for about 300 men, women and children.

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, https://www.wcfcourier.com


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