Crittenton Center closing emergency shelter in Sioux City

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SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – The Crittenton Center will be closing the doors to its emergency shelter due to staffing shortages.

The agency, located at 3901 Green Avenue in Sioux City, had temporarily suspended services at the shelter in early April because of COVID-related staffing shortages.

Crittenton Center Executive Director Leslie Heying said operating the facility would need to be open and takes an entire team, but the COVID-19 pandemic has negatively impacted staffing.

“In addition to staff absenteeism related to COVID, the pandemic has also taken a toll on our hiring process. We have experienced a significant decrease in new applicants, due, in part, to stimulus payments, greater unemployment benefits and other government assistance related to the pandemic,” Heying said.

The emergency shelter opened in the late 1970s and provided kids with a safe, temporary refuge. Over the years, it expanded to provide further child welfare.

Most clients at the shelter come from Juvenile Court Services and the Iowa Department of Human Services, the Crittenton Center said, with them caring for about 180 in 2020.

Heying said that many clients admitted to the shelter have greater need than ever before which creates problems with attracting and retaining staff.

“We’ve seen an increase in the number of clients with multiple mental health diagnoses and histories of physical and sexual aggression which require a higher level of care than our shelter was designed and equipped to provide,” Heying said.

Terrie Rasheed, the chair of Crittenton Center’s Board of Directors, says the safety and well-being of children in Crittenton Center’s care remains its highest priority.

“We are fully committed to providing the safest possible place for children in our care and why the determination was made to cancel our current DHS contract until an evaluation and determination of the best path forward for the shelter can be implemented,” Rasheed said.

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