• Homeless? Need help now? Call 211.

Community Impact

More than $100,000 Raised

Since 2006, Linn County Sleep Out for the Homeless participants have raised more than $100,000. Every dollar raised goes to local nonprofit agencies who provide shelter, food and other basic necessities to homeless men, women and children in our community.

More than 700 Participants

In the past four years, approximately 700 people have participated in the Linn County Sleep Out to learn more about what it’s like to be without a place to live. A percentage of those who take part in the Sleep Out each year become passionate advocates for the homeless.

Who’s Homeless?

Men, women and children in our community may be considered homeless if they lack permanent and/or stable housing. That could mean spending the night in a shelter, a car, or a park; sleeping in a motel; or staying with family or friends because they’re unable to maintain their own residence.

To help determine the number of homeless men, women and children in Linn County, twice a year, each January and July, members of the Linn County Continuum of Care Policy and Planning Council conduct a Point in Time count of individuals and families are living in local emergency shelters, transitional housing or on the street. In addition, an Individual and Family Needs Survey is also conducted in July to identify the needs of the homeless or near homeless in Linn County.

Our History – by Don Tyne, co-founder

The Linn County Sleep Out for the homeless was created 11 years ago to meet the needs of homeless in our community. At that time I served on the board of Willis Dady Center and wanted to help the shelter become more financially stable.

In February 2005, a veteran came to my office after spending the night in the snow. Our staff did an intake and discovered that he was struggling with mental health. I arranged for him to stay at Willis Dady, and set up medical appointments to have his needs assessed. Willis Dady also looked for his family. Willis Dady was able to locate the veteran’s family and secure permanent housing.

I was so impressed by the outcome of this partnership between Veterans Affairs and Willis Dady; I wanted to figure out a way to get veterans involved in helping our homeless programs. I learned about a veteran in Minnesota who slept out in a card board box to raise funds for his local homeless shelters. Iowa is south of Minnesota, so why not try that in Linn County! In November 2005, 5 AmeriCorps volunteers, Theresa, Joe Zito, Dave Langston, several veterans and I, slept out at Coe College during National Homeless Awareness week. We collected $3,000 that year. When the Community Circle of Care heard about our adventure, Ann Hearn got and the event turned into the large scale fundraiser and awareness raiser that it is today. In 2007 Congress gave us a National Award. I am pleased to be a part of this wonderful event!

It's a local issue.

Each year, more than 5,000 people in Linn County spend time in a shelter. Of those, more than 50 percent are children.

Receiving Partners

Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC)

The Area Substance Abuse Council (ASAC) offers two transitional housing programs for community members in recovery from substance abuse. Adult Residential Halfway House and Heart of Iowa are ASAC’s short-term transitional housing options for those who have successfully completed residential substance abuse treatment program and are either homeless or do not have a living situation conducive to their recovery. Adult Residential Halfway House is for adult males and females, and Heart of Iowa is for pregnant women and women with children.

Helping: recovering men, women, pregnant women, women with children

Catherine McAuley Center

The Catherine McAuley Center Transitional Housing Program provides housing and support for women of all ages for up to two years. While ages of women in the program range from 18-62, often the women have adult children and are grandmothers. Often married young and raising a family, it is common for women at the Catherine McAuley Center to report that they never learned how to live independently. As part of the Transitional Housing Program, women receive shelter, medical care and educational lessons in areas such as budgeting, banking and tenant/landlord rights. The Catherine McAuley Center works to set up each woman for success when they complete the program by connecting them with the skills and resources they need.

Helping: women

Family Promise of Linn County

Family Promise of Linn County, Inc. (FPLC) is a nonprofit and non-denominational organization for families in transition. FPLC supports families in several ways including host congregations, a volunteer network, transportation and a day center for children. Local service agencies and FPLC partner closely to provide comprehensive support services to these families.

Helping: families

Foundation 2

Foundation 2 is a not-for-profit human service agency that offers crisis prevention and intervention programs to people of all ages. In particular, Foundation 2 supports youth in the community by providing a youth shelter for ages 11-17, as well as independent living support. Youth and their families also receive support from Foundation 2 in the forms of a 24-hour crisis hotline, individual and family counseling, support groups and an after-hours food pantry.

Helping: families, youth


HACAP provides housing and resources for homeless households, helping them transition to a condition of self-sufficiency. Family support workers are assigned to each family, and provide guidance and support in areas like job research skills, childcare procurement and permanent housing options. Consumer education and life skill classes are offered on a monthly basis and teach valuable skills such as financial management and tenant/landlord law.

Helping: families, children

Mission of Hope

Mission of Hope is a faith-based, non-profit ministry offering physical, emotional, and spiritual help to former offenders, the poor, the homeless and all others in need. The Mission of Hope Shelter is a 24-hour emergency shelter for former offenders and other adult males, including those who have been drinking. The majority of residents come to the shelter due to unemployment, eviction or relocation. In addition to shelter, the Mission of Hope serves individuals homemade hot meals, keeps a food pantry, provides emergency clothing, and offers worship services and addiction support meetings, among other services.

Helping: former offenders, adult males, intoxicated adult males

Salvation Army Emergency Lodging Program

The Salvation Army is a faith-based social services organization and church ministry. Through a wide array of programs, The Salvation Army works to meet the immediate concerns and issues of individuals; whenever possible it address those challenges with longer-term solutions that promote stability. Among the core areas of focus for The Salvation Army are emergency lodging, homeless prevention, housing support, community meal programs and food pantries.

Helping: families

St John of the Cross Catholic Worker House

We are a non-profit 501(c)3 corporation providing a shelter for single women or married couples, with or without children. Residents receive shelter regardless of religion, ethnicity, age or reason for homelessness. We are able to carry out the Corporal Works of Mercy through the generosity of many individuals, churches, corporations, school groups, and other organizations. While they are with us we provide breakfast and dinner, bedding and personal hygiene products. We allow them to stay for between 30-90 days. We attempt to provide tools and resources for our residents to achieve a better life.


Waypoint’s mission is to strengthen and empowers individuals and families who are homeless, living in poverty, or victims of domestic violence.  The Critical Services Division of Waypoint consists of the Madge Phillips Center Shelter, Daytime Resource Program, Rapid Re-Housing, Homeless Prevention, Coordinated Entry, and Domestic Violence Victim Services.  The Madge Philips Center Shelter serves homeless women and children with overnight shelter, basic needs, support, and case management.  The Daytime Resource Program serves households who are homeless, nearly homeless, or living in poverty with access to toiletries, guidance, and community referrals.  The Rapid Re-Housing and Homeless Prevention Programs support homeless individuals/households in finding affordable, permanent housing through case management and landlord advocacy.  Through Coordinated Entry, Waypoint supports homeless individuals/households in Linn County with locating open shelter beds as being the centralized point of contact for all emergency shelters in the community; as well as creating shelter diversion opportunities for individuals/households. Waypoint supports thousands of members in the community facing a housing crisis every year through all the Housing and Shelter Programs.

Helping: women, children, domestic violence victims, homeless households

Willis Dady

The Willis Dady Emergency Shelter works to empower individuals and families to break the cycle of homelessness and become self-sufficient by providing immediate shelter, case management, services for veterans and prevention services. Case managers work one-on-one with those who enter the shelter to help them move towards permanent, stable housing as quickly as possible. The shelter accommodates 16 single men and four families. Prevention services are available to all individuals, and veteran aid is available to those with any military experience who are homeless or near homeless.

Helping: adult men, families

Cedar Valley Friends of the Family

Cedar Valley Friends of the Family provides safe shelter, confidential services and housing assistance to individuals in crisis due to homelessness, domestic violence, and sexual assault. The Friends’ House Emergency Safe Shelter is a 19-bed shelter in a confidential location and is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week with certified victim advocates. The emergency safe shelter is for women and children fleeing domestic or sexual violence; clients are eligible to stay for up to 30 days. The Rapid Re-housing and Homeless Prevention program works with victims and survivors who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless due to domestic violence or sexual assault. A number of other programs are offered, as well. All clients receive case management, crisis support and information and referrals to community resources.

Helping: women and children who have or are currently experiencing sexual or domestic abuse

Catholic Worker House

Catholic Worker House is a homeless shelter for single women and married couples with or without children.

Helping: single women, married couples without children, married couples with children

It's a national issue.

As many as 3.5 million people experience homelessness in a given year.

© 2016 Linn County Sleep Out for the Homeless. All rights reserved.