About The Emergency Residence Project
The Emergency Residence Project has housed the homeless in Ames and Story County since 1985. Since that time, the clients have changed from single, transient men to Story County families.
ERP began in the early 1980′s, as the Loaves and Fishes Hospitality House, which was a single family home dedicated to sheltering the homeless for Ames and Story County. In the mid-1980′s, the current shelter, The Emergency Residence Project, was organized.
The shelter’s director is Vic Moss and the assistant director is Troy Jansen. Vic and Troy have witnessed the enormous pressure put on families who lose their housing. Their children experience disruptions to their education and lives which can have many negative impacts.
Programs such as ERP’s Homeless Prevention Program helps families remain in their housing so such disruptions can be minimized. The Transitional Housing Program gives families several months of housing to stabilize their lives and get back into housing they can afford. A 4-plex built next door to the shelter during ISU’s Homecoming Blitz Build several years ago houses most of the families in this program.
Mission and Goals
The ERP seeks to provide shelter, food, essential hygiene, referral for needs not covered by our programs and (whenever possible) intervention to prevent homelessness.
Almost two-thirds of the people benefiting directly from ERP programs are residents of Story County, with the remaining one-third composed of individuals attempting to relocate to Story County or who are passing through town.
Main Shelter – Last year, ERP provided short-term shelter to 500 people. Most stayed less than two weeks. The overflow from the shelter were housed in rented motel space.
Homeless Prevention Program – 1,100 people were assisted through this program last year. It is the largest part of our program and the most rapidly growing. Families are assisted with utility payments to prevent disconnections and with direct rent payments so evictions are not carried out. Last year, payments made to Alliant totaled $20,000, payments to landlords totaled $60,000.
Transitional housing – The newest program, Transitional Housing, assisted 50 persons last year. The four-plex just north of the shelter was constructed in 1999 in partnership with Habitat for Humanity and Iowa State University’s Homecoming Blitz Build. A duplex to the south of the shelter was purchased in 1992 and also serves families in transition.
In 1985, a group of Story County individuals, representing local religious and social organizations, began plans for an emergency shelter for the homeless. Operations began in 1985, and membership in the United Way was obtained in 1986. The shelter received federal tax-exempt status in 1987 and acquired two adjacent structures in 1992 and 1995. These properties provided all housing opportunities until 1999 when, in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, Iowa State University, and numerous organizations in the Ames community, a four-plex apartment building was constructed. This facility now functions as the primary source of transitional housing available under ERP.