Homelessness in North Iowa a serious problem


MASON CITY, Iowa – Jeff Hook has been in and out of prison for the last 15 years after becoming addicted to drugs, but that’s changed in the last year.

“There’s a point where you’re going to get sick of the lifestyle that you live and you want to change it around,” Hook said. “And God has done that for me through the Walters House.”

One of the people that’s been helping him out knows what it’s like to be in that situation.

“There is a time period in my life when I was homeless last year sometime, and so I can really relate with them,” Northern Lights Men’s Homeless Shelter supervisor Shane Godden said.

Godden does what he can for those who come in from providing clothes to just having a conversation. He says after being in that situation himself, all it takes is someone who cares.

“It’s not a job to me it’s an investment,” he said.

Those at Northern Lights want everyone to understand that homelessness is a serious problem, and they need the public’s help to support these people.

“Homeless is not about my clients being lazy, it’s about some life event that is happening that has spun their life out of control,” Executive Director at Northern Lights Jeannie Kingery said.

Now that Hook’s life is back on track, he hopes other people find the kind of support he does.

“I didn’t know so many people cared about you and that’s what the homeless shelter has done for me,” he said.

Kingery says usually they help a little more than 350 people a year, but this year they’re at about 500 people.

They will be holding a fundraiser at Prime and Wine in Mason City on Saturday in honor of Homelessness Awareness Month.

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