Supervisors learn of homeless residents in Marshall County

People made homeless mainly through financial distress

Sixteen homeless people — 15 in Marshalltown and one in State Center — are in Marshall County.

A homeless person is determined to be someone living in a “non-home” such as a tent, vehicle or improvised shelter.

Various Marshalltown social service agencies conducted a comprehensive study of the Marshall County homeless population in July.

Marshall County Youth & Shelter Services Executive Director David Hicks told the Board of Supervisors at their regular meeting Tuesday at Great Western Bank that he led the group that surveyed the homeless in vehicles found in parking lots.

“I went to various businesses after hours and overnights and found people living in vehicles,” he said. “In interviews with subjects, we found homelessness was caused primarily by financial distress. There is more month than money.”

Other issues contributing to homelessness was family discord, mental illness and substance abuse.

Hicks said the homeless were given information on resources, such as his agency or others.

“Beginning Jan. 22 we will do another survey and focus on towns throughout the county,” he said. “We will work with city leaders and churches. In those communities the churches are the hub for information.”

Hicks said they will use similar survey methodology as used in July.

Transitioning, Hicks told the supervisors the nearest overnight shelter is in Ames.

The House of Compassion in Marshalltown does offer free soup suppers and a variety of other services to low-income residents.

In other news the board of supervisors:

• Proclaimed Nov. 11-18 as “National Hunger and Homeless Awareness Week.”

• Determined that agencies asking for county funding for fiscal years 2020-2021 are to submit requests to the board no later than 4:30 p.m. Nov. 29. Applications must substantiate requests.

• Held a public hearing on the Marshall County Green Mountain Community Development Block Grant application of $146,000. No residents were present to support or object to the application.

• Approved a resolution to submit an application to the Iowa Economic Development Authority. Region VI Resource Planner Marty Wymore said a decision is expected in March.

• Adopted an ordinance enacting minimum requirements for tanning facilities in the county.

• Approved hiring Jennie Ferneau in the Auditor/Recorder’s Office. She will work part time, 30 hours per week at $16.50 per hour beginning Nov. 4 or after.

The next regular supervisors’ meeting will be 9:05 a.m., Nov. 12 in the conference room on the second floor of Great Western Bank, 11 N. First Ave.


Contact Mike Donahey

at 641-753-6611 or



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