Shelter House unveils new apartment building

City leaders came together with dozens of community members Wednesday for the opening of Iowa City's first "Housing First" project for the homeless, Cross Park Place.

It's a 24-unit apartment building south of downtown. Tenants get in free as it's a permanent supportive housing building for those "chronically homeless," those that often cycle through the ER, jail and shelters. It differs from other housing support systems, which require people to graduate from a series of programs before gaining housing.

Each unit comes with basic appliances and a TV with cable.The rooms have a neutral, welcoming colors with high-ceilings for a spacious atmosphere for some who may have traumatic past lives.

Shelter House executive director Crissy Canganelli said the building is proof the community can be a solution to what some have considered "a problem too great to overcome."

There will also be on-site staff and a clinic. The project is five years in the making. It came together with the help of public and private funding.