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Nonprofit helping to furnish homes still looking for permanent home of its own

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – A Linn County nonprofit is using furniture to help people transition from homelessness, but they’re also still looking for a permanent home of their own.

Central Furniture Rescue got its start in 2019. Susan Johnston founded the organization which works with more than 30 agencies to get referrals for people in need of their services.

“Homelessness is a derecho that comes and takes your house, homelessness is a fire that comes and takes your house,” Johnston said.

In Zachary Morgan’s case, homelessness was due to drug addiction.

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“It lead to the point where I was homeless without a job, without anything basically,” Morgan said.

Morgan moved to Cedar Rapids in April to seek rehab through the Area Substance Abuse Council. Now, he’s graduated from the program and has an apartment of his own.

“I moved in here like a week ago, with like an air mattress,” Morgan said.

Central Furniture Rescue stepped in to furnish Morgan’s new apartment this week.

“We make sure that when they do get that home, that place to live, that we make it a home,” Johnston said.

With the help of volunteers, the nonprofit makes around 12 deliveries per week in Linn County. When they formed in 2019, the organization never could have anticipated the need they would see with a pandemic and a derecho.

Already this year they’ve helped more than 200 households, including 23 derecho victims. They expect to help 600 households by the end of the year. All of the furniture is donated.

“The need is huge and it shows how awesome, our community is,” Johnston said.

While Central Furniture Rescue is busy filling houses, they’re on the hunt for a home of their own. Right now they are in their fourth warehouse space, which they’ve been staying in on a temporary basis while they’re for lease. This allows them to pay well below the market rate, something that’s been crucial for the nonprofit.

However, they have to leave their current warehouse space in a matter of months.

“When we have to move, everything stops, it impacts who we can help. So we need permanency,” Johnston said.

They’re hoping to find a permanent home soon. In the meantime, they’ll continue to help others, like Morgan, start fresh in theirs.

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“I can’t really like express the joy that I felt,” Morgan said.

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