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DES MOINES, Iowa — In 2020, many Iowans faced uncertainty about keeping a roof over their heads due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Central Iowa Shelter & Services in Des Moines helped many out who were facing homelessness, or just became homeless, by finding them places to live.

To make sure the shelter did not become a virus hotspot, officials started moving some occupants into public or private housing.

About 130 people are in the Central Iowa Shelter and Services Center downtown right now. Normally this time of year that number is around 200.

"There is a big risk of people getting frostbite so we also welcome them to come in and get a coat or anything from our clothing closet," said Mellissa Gradischnig, with Central Iowa Shelter and Services.

With the cooperation from Fareway Stores and Iowa Pork, CISS was able to put on an outstanding Giving Tuesday event by preparing and serving breakfast burritos with a dinner to follow. This event was over Zoom and on Facebook Live as well as following all mandates/precautions due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In August 2019, Central Iowa Shelter Services (CISS), along with partnering sponsors, commissioned a study to explore future development of the area surrounding their home on Mulberry Corridor. The study was to envision future projects tackling a comprehensive look at fighting continued issues of homelessness.

“Take a second and let the cold set in,” O’Neil said in the brisk air. “We have Iowans today, during this pandemic, who are sleeping outside, who are sleeping in their cars, and who are faced with the battle of bitter cold.”

The new expansion represents a visible commitment to “be better” for the residents of Des Moines, O’Neil said.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As the colder weather settles in, local advocates against homelessness worry some people will choose to sleep outside due to the pandemic.

"More people are sleeping in their cars or sleeping under bridges or in parks for fear of coming inside due to COVID-19," explained Melissa O'Neil, Central Iowa Shelter and Services' CEO.

$50,000 DONATION ANNOUNCED TO EXPAND CENTRAL IOWA SHELTER & SERVICES GREENHOUSE PROGRAM

On March 19, Goodwill and Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS) worked together to offer an emergency donation drive for several of our homeless shelter clients that were being rapidly housed in response to the coronavirus.

Please read the following news release related to our efforts due to the coronavirus.

Our Impact This Year

  • Number of People Served This Year

    2,323

  • Lbs harvested from Mulberry Farms & Food This Year

    10,228

  • Polk County
    Polk County
© 2021 Central Iowa Shelter & Services