Des Moines' "radical" homeless pop-up village
A pop-up care village for DSM's homeless population will launch on the east side in coming weeks.
- It's a one-stop shop where community groups and volunteers will offer food, clothing, showers and services like case management and substance abuse counseling.
Why it matters: There are more than 2,300 homeless people in Iowa on any given night. About 30% of them — almost 700 people — are in Polk County, according to the National Alliance to End Homelessness.
- Regular access to personal hygiene care and grooming like haircuts, as well as services like mail delivery, are key to helping homeless individuals find long-term housing and employment.
Driving the news: DSM approved $150K last month to pay for some of the Central Iowa Shelter & Services (CISS) program's startup costs.
- About $120K is still needed to purchase a truck and a 29-foot trailer that will include mobile shower services, CISS CEO Melissa O'Neil told Jason this week.
Details: The village will be open three days a week at Harriet and Southeast 14th Streets.
- That's near current homeless encampments, but on vacant city-owned property. The property is not near homes.
The intrigue: DSM's pop-up village is modeled after LavaMae, a program that started in San Francisco in 2014 and was described by founder Doniece Sandoval as "radical hospitality."
- It's revolutionary because it raises the bar on how services are provided and radical because it's a level of care rarely extended to homeless people, Sandoval told Grommet.
What's next: Most pop-up services will begin within the next month, O'Neil said.
- Shower services will begin once fundraising and acquisition of the trailer/truck are completed. That's expected to be around next spring.
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