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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.


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MANASSEH HOUSE/OPERATION EMPOWER. Located in 2018 at 2080 Elm St., Manasseh House/Operation Empower according to its website its mission was to house, educate, employ, and offer unique supportive services in a sustainable manner to women of Dubuque and surrounding areas. (1) The organization was founded by Michelle Mihalakis. Manasseh House and Salvia Apartments offered permanent supportive housing with affordable rents, library, fitness room, computer lab, community gardens, WI-FI, free laundry, off-street parking and paid utilities. (2)

In 2011 the Dubuque-based supportive project for single women added a program to aid women in rural areas. In such areas, a woman in need could only obtain a night in a hotel--a situation that did not improve her life. Mihalakis began the Manasseh House Rural Homeless Program to assist the growing number of homeless women in rural Iowa. Women with a 75-mile radius could call 563-556-SAFE (7233) for a situational assessment. If they qualified, the woman would be transported to Safe Strides Shelter for Women in Dubuque. The shelter worked to find employment, housing, education and supportive services for single women with no children. Women could remain at the shelter for up to twenty-one days. (3)

Further services were announced in 2018. In November, Mihalakis announced a proposed recovery center to help reduce the number of local substance-abuse deaths. The first week of November, the Iowa Finance Authority Board of Directors announced that Manasseh House/Operation Empower had received $2.7 million to help build Liberty Recovery Community. The award would pay most of the anticipated cost of $3.2 million needed for the project. The center was scheduled for opening early in 2020. (4)

The plans called for the renovation of the Liberty Bank Building at 2201 Jackson and the construction of an adjacent apartment building at 2220 White. Liberty Place Apartments would consist of 24 one-bedroom units to offer supportive permanent housing to men and women dealing with substance abuse. The renovated bank building would serve as a recovery and training center offering support groups, writing and art therapy, and drug and alcohol education. A leadership academy was intended to help tenants find jobs in the addiction recovery field. The intention was to partner with as many area organizations as possible. (5)



1. Manasseh House/Operation Empower, Facebook, Online: https://www.facebook.com/pg/Manasseh-HouseOperation-Empower-225890154202846/about/?ref=page_internal

2. Gull, Rachel, "Program Helps Homeless in Rural Areas," Telegraph Herald, August 6, 2011, p. 15

3. Ibid.

4. Hinga, Allie, "Nonprofit Plans Drug Recovery Facility," Telegraph Herald, November 13, 2018, p. 1

5. Ibid., p. 2