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What We Do

Partner Programs

We also work with other organizations to help facilitate our clients’ move toward self-sufficiency.

Primary Health Care - The free onsite clinic occurs multiple times per week.  Their onsite presence removes transportation and cost barriers for clients who would not otherwise be able to access needed medical services.  Other teams of Primary Health Care, including Coordinated Intake, Homeless Outreach, Supportive Services for Veteran Families (SSVF), Therapy and The Project provide services on a regular basis as follows:.

Primary Health Care Coordinated Intake – Through this program, PHC staff meet with individuals who are entering the system, complete an assessment and provide an appropriate referral for services. This will serve as a bridge between all community agencies and point clients in the direction of the service that best fit their needs.  PHC staff are onsite at CISS five times per week for this purpose.

Primary Health Care Homeless Outreach – Outreach team members provide scheduled service three times weekly to assist with a variety of client needs, from housing assistance to applications.

Primary Health Care SSVF – The Supportive Services for Veteran Families team provides, as needed, onsite assistance and enrollment for CISS Veteran clients.

Primary Health Care Therapy – A licensed independent social worker provides five to seven onsite therapy sessions, delivered once per week.

The Project of Primary Health Care – Provides free HIV and STD testing to our clients twice per month.

Iowa Legal Aid – Legal Aid partners with CISS to provide free legal services to our clients on a weekly basis.

House of Mercy – This agency provides substance abuse evaluations twice per week for shelter clients.

Broadlawns Dental Clinic in collaboration with Primary Health Care Dental – Provides dental education, screenings and care with dental students on a regularly scheduled basis throughout the school year. 

Des Moines Area Religious Council (DMARC) Food Pantry - CISS partners with DMARC to provide a downtown food pantry to the community.

Employee and Family Resources – EFR provides a four week curriculum that discusses things such as personality attributes, stress management and coping skills.  This course creates self-awareness needed to effectively communicate thoughts and to learn how perception affects decisions made.

Des Moines Area Community College (DMACC) HiSET Program - CISS partners with DMACC to provide HiSET preparation classes on site to clients in our housing programs and anyone in the community.

Veterans Administration Central Iowa Health Care System – This arrangement ensures needed low-cost and no-cost medical services for eligible indigent veterans.

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers Outreach - Outreach workers provide on-site services from adults 18 to 21 years old eligible for aftercare services.

Financial Capability Network (a project of the United Way of Central Iowa) – FCN offers financial education classes to help residents learn to better manage their money. Topics include Banking Basics, Spending & Saving Plans, Credit & Debt, and Consumer Protections. Residents also receive Money Coaching on a continuing basis to achieve milestones.

Alcoholics Anonymous - Meetings are held onsite for people with substance use disorders.

Freedom for Youth MinistriesFreedom for Youth provides resident and non-resident programs for young adults ages 18-22.  Their weekly onsite outreach provides an opportunity to speak with age appropriate clients regarding their services, particularly their transitional housing programs where young adults committed to changing their lifestyle can spend 9 to 18 months.

DMU (Homeless Camp Outreach)Des Moines University’s Homeless Camp Outreach Team provides Health Education curriculum onsite at the shelter every other week on topics ranging from Nutrition Basics to Physical Wellness to Cancer Prevention and Diabetes Management.

HOME, Inc. HOME, Inc. presents RENTWise, a multipart curriculum designed to prepare clients to rent their next home, onsite at the shelter.  Topics covered include: Communication and Conflict Resolution, Money Management, Finding a Place to Call Home, Energy Actions to Save Money and Getting Through the Rental Process.  This curriculum is presented on approximately a quarterly basis at the shelter.

Polk County Veterans Affairs - Polk County Veterans Affairs will provide weekly onsite outreach to Veterans at the shelter to offer easier access to services they offer including financial assistance and application assistance.

Goodwill of Central Iowa - Providing a monthly career readiness training over the course of one week that provides resume writing, mock interviews and job application skills along with onsite interviews with Goodwill partner employers.

Mercy College of Health SciencesNursing Program – Mercy provides basic health assessments weekly when classes are in session.

Planned Parenthood of the HeartlandAn outreach educator provides once per month one-on-one health education.

Salvation Army Mobile CanteenThe Salvation Army “Sally Truck” provides breakfast to shelter clients twice per week.

Broadlawns Mental Health Service Coordination is an even more comprehensive partnership where Broadlawns Medical Center has staff embedded full-time at CISS.  Funded by Polk County Health Services, Broadlawns Mental Health Service Coordinators provide access to services within the mental health system, ranging from coordinating and attending psych and medical appointments to helping clients find resources in the community for basic needs, housing, transportation, employment and beyond to assisting with management and stabilization of mental and physical health needs.

These partnerships are fluid in nature and are subject to change based upon client utilization and needs as well as the staffing and outreach constraints of the partners involved.

Our Impact This Year

  • Number of People Served This Year


  • Lbs harvested from Mulberry Farms & Food in 2016


  • Veterans Served This Year


© 2017 Central Iowa Shelter & Services