Close this search box.

Housing for the Holidays


Help Us End Homelessness & Food Insecurity in Iowa

One missed paycheck is all it takes to put a person on the path to homelessness. For most of our clients, homelessness began as a temporary situation that snowballed into a permanent reality. The help needed to get back on their feet can be hard to find or ask for on their own. For others, a history of trauma makes it difficult to trust the system—especially at the hands of strangers.

That’s why the work of our Street Outreach team has been so crucial.

Meeting People Where They Are

Our Street Outreach team focuses on establishing a consistent, reliable presence among unhoused communities in Des Moines and beyond. Our team makes weekly trips to homeless camps throughout Des Moines to deliver water, answer questions, and let it be known that help is available.

We respect the space and privacy of everyone we encounter, which is the first step in building a relationship based on trust. Over time, as the individuals we meet come to know us better, they become more open to speaking with our team, using our services, and staying at the shelter.

“CISS changed my life. I was able to work in the garden while I stayed there. My caseworker, Rick, was amazing in helping me find treatment, which I completed, and have since moved on to independent living. Aaron, my boss in the garden, gave me tasks that made me feel viable to the community again. It IS a shelter, yes. But I learned more about myself in those 3 months than I have in many years. I’m grateful for everyone there.” – Becky

We Need Your Support

As our team connects with more and more individuals like Becky, the immediate need for resources becomes greater as individuals take the first steps toward self-sufficiency.

On November 1, 2023, there were 263 people in our emergency shelter—a record high for this time of year. As temperatures continue to drop and we enter winter amnesty, we will have even more people in need of a warm, safe place to sleep.

We are committed to accommodating as many people as we can, both in the shelter and through partnerships—but we need your help to purchase additional cots and other supplies to ensure everyone is taken care of.

Through your generosity, you can help our team kickstart life-changing journeys to self-sufficiency for even more people, right here in Des Moines.

Every contribution makes a difference. For instance, a donation of just $45.00 provides security, warmth, and a safe place for someone in need to lay their head for a night.