Lee County center swamped with requests for beds from homeless - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Lee County center swamped with requests for beds from homeless

KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) - A center in Lee County Iowa has been flooded with calls from people needing a place to stay this week because of the brutal, cold temperatures.

Volunteers say the calls just keep coming in despite already having a full house.

Pastor Sylvia Tillman of God's Way Center in Keokuk says the three facilities they have available to house people are full.

Tillman says she doesn't usually see as many people come through her doors for food, clothing and shelter this early in the month and she thinks the weather has been a big factor.

"It's been amazing to me," Tillman said. "It's been actually very overwhelming because the telephone is ringing off the hook. As soon as we get here people are waiting for us to open the doors."
One of those people is Kadeem Ward who says he's been down on his luck and was searching for a place to escape the frigid temperatures when God's Way Center in Keokuk took him in.

"It's helping me get on my feet," Ward said. "They help me get a job for transportation and keeping me out of the cold."
Pastor Sylvia Tillman's center runs as a soup kitchen, food pantry and a place for people to find clothes.

Those services are still being provided at the center, but Pastor Tillman says they've had to turn away people looking for a bed.

"In the last seven days, we've probably had to turn away about 16 inquiries," Tillman said.

Tillman says there are other options for people who have nowhere else to turn.

"There's nothing that we can do," Tillman said. "We try to encourage them to try the Salvation Army in Quincy or try the Emma Cornelius Hospitality House in Fort Madison and those would be their options."

Ward now has a job prospect thanks to the center and he hopes this is a step in the right path.

"It was a blessing really because the other day I didn't know where I was going to stay and the other day I came to God's Way and they've pretty much put everything together for me." Ward said.



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