Winter Overflow and Willis Dady


My name is Denine Rushing and I am the Shelter
Manager. The Community Overflow Weather Shelter System is a seasonal, low barrier emergency
shelter that opens at the beginning of winter and closes when the temperatures rise again.
It is a shelter that saves life and limb from the Iowa cold. I oversee the shelter as a
whole. So, I gather the staff and hire the staff for Overflow each year. The staff works
really closely with the clients to make sure that everyone is safe. When clients comes
to the door, the staff is there to check their bags. So we do check for medications, weapons,
and any drugs or alcohol. And so those are things that we take and we keep in our offices.
And then after their bags are checked then they will go to the next table, which would
be a staff member there that will jot down their first and last name, their date of birth
and their gender. This year, I was able to hire two individuals who last year were actual
clients at the overflow shelter. I’m Crystal and I’m an RA (Resident Attendant) at Willis
Dady. I was previously homeless for two years, up until March 18th of 2019 so I hit a really
rough a spot. Basically, I was staying in a hotel before and I was like “Oh, if I
go to Overflow I could save money and be able to afford an apartment if I can’t get help
with it.” I wasn’t worried when I was at work where I was gonna spend that night
when I got off. Some of the clients was there last year with me and this year, and they’re
like “Oh, you’ve come so far in a year” and it’s really nice to be able to see them
looking up to me and being like “Oh we can do this” versus they’re just here.

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