As temperatures drop, shelters for the homeless fill up. But no matter what, people needing a place in the Quad-Cities could always count on King's Harvest Ministries.
Director Terri Gleize's guiding philosophy was that as long as there was floor space, there was room. For 10 years, the nonprofit at 824 W. 3rd St., Davenport, accepted people who were turned away from other places, providing emergency shelter from Dec. 1 to April 15, often for 60 to 80 people per night.
But in early November, Gleize notified groups serving the homeless she couldn't do it another year, prompting a crisis situation.
"Word spread like wildfire, and Humility Homes & Services called a meeting with the mayor (of Davenport) on Nov. 6," said Lori Elam, director of the Scott County Community Services Department.
Humility provides emergency and transitional/supportive housing. Others attending the meeting were from The Center, a ministry of St. John's United Methodist Church; The Salvation Army; One Eighty, a Christian ministry serving those in crisis, poverty and addiction; Family Resources Inc., a social service agency, all of Davenport; Bethany for Children & Families, Moline; the city of Davenport's community planning and economic development department; and the Scott County's Community Services Department.
After some scrambling, the groups came up with a solution to carry through this winter: The King's Harvest emergency shelter will remain open, but it will be managed by staff hired by Humility Homes & Services, paid with $60,000 that has been pledged by the community over the past 2½ weeks, said John DeTaeye, director of development for Humility Homes & Services.
This solution is expected to be announced at a news conference Friday at King's Harvest.
Money for the paid staff has come from numerous sources, including $5,000 each from the Scott County Housing Council, a nonprofit entity, and the county's general assistance fund, Elam said.
"It was a quick decision," she added. "Dec. 1 was coming up very quickly."
The problem with King's Harvest continuing as it had is that it doesn't have the money to pay sufficient staff to oversee and manage the shelter at night, Gleize said. In addition to the sheer numbers, some of the crowd are mentally ill, sex offenders and alcoholics — "the ones no one else will take," she said.
The organization had to rely on volunteers, and Gleize ended up working too many of the shifts herself, DeTaeye said.
"She should be applauded for that," he said of Gleize's tireless work. "She did it way too long. It's very stressful work. She deserves a lot of thanks."
In an interview with the Quad-City Times, Gleize, 59, said she is "kind of old, and it's so much work."
"I'm very thankful Humility of Mary (a previous name) is going to help. They are truly a blessing, for the homeless and for me."
But the solution isn't the final word.
Representatives at the Friday news conference will talk about the need for longer-term solutions, including programs aimed at getting people help so they don't need emergency shelter, DeTaeye said.
Representatives also will discuss the immediate need for a shelter for homeless children, which is a gap at present.
"I'm not sure what's going to happen with that," Gleize said. "We get calls all the time (for shelter for children). There's such a need for it."
This is the second time an organization affiliated with the Congregation of the Humility of Mary, an order of Catholic sisters, has stepped in to fill the need for an emergency homeless shelter.
The Humility of Mary Shelter was created in 2008 as a new entity to run the former John Lewis Community Services Inc., which gave a three-week notice that it was closing. The effort involved getting a $300,000 commitment from the community.