Interchurch Council helping to address homelessness in Lucas County

Pastor Dave Hobbs and Father Fred Steinbach serve on the Lucas County Interchurch Council which is offering a local apartment to help people struggling with housing.

The Lucas County Interchurch Council wants to get the word out about help available to those struggling to find housing in Lucas County.

Father Fred Steinbach from St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church and Pastor Dave Hobbs from the First United Methodist Church serve on a committee that is focused on homelessness in the county and about a year ago, they decided to rent an apartment in Chariton and offer it to people in need of temporary housing.

Father Steinbach, who works as a counselor at the local food bank said he would often talk with people who came in to get food and would find that they were also struggling with housing.

“Too frequently I would hear the stories of people who were either living in their car in someone’s driveway or they were couch surfing, they were gong from friend to friend,” said Steinbach. “For all intents and purposes [they] were homeless.”

Steinbach said he brought the issue up to the Interchurch Council and they formed a committee to study the issues about two years ago. They looked at different types of homelessness in Chariton, who it impacts and what they could do to help address the problem.

They found there were two main types of homelessness in the community. There were people who were just passing through town and might need a place to stay for a day or two and there were also people who needed transitional housing. Maybe they were trying to get a new job, or were between homes and might need a place to stay for a few weeks.

A solution they came up with was to rent an apartment to offer it to people in need to help them get on their feet.

They began offering the apartment in summer of 2020 and they have been able to help four families so far. They can also work with people to help find jobs or other resources if they need that.

The apartment is two bedrooms and located in Chariton. It is fully furnished and utilities are paid for. The apartment does not allow pets. The people they help usually stay for two weeks but Hobbs and Steinbach said every situation is different and the amount of time people stay can depend on the need.

Hobbs and Steinbach said there are also other groups like the Salvation Army that can help out with things like utilities and the Interchurch Council also offers other help as well.

The apartment is currently open and they are looking for anyone in need of help. Anyone who has questions or who knows someone in need may call the First United Methodist Church at (641) 774-5023. The process is confidential. If no one answers leave a message. Anyone interested in helping can also contact the church.