Iowa Homeless Youth Centers


Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC), a YSS organization, works to eliminate homelessness among children, youth, and young families in Central Iowa.

Our dedicated staff provide case management and advocacy to youth ages 18-24, helping them find stability and plan for a successful future. With support, we believe youth experiencing homelessness can attain self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.

Our Location

Youth Opportunity Center
612 Locust Street
Des Moines, IA 50309

Phone: 515-883-2379
Hours: Monday-Friday, noon-6 p.m.

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Our Programs

Counseling Services

The IHYC team includes licensed mental health therapists who offer a myriad of behavioral health services to help individuals and families overcome their obstacles. Learn more.

Foster Care Advocacy & Aftercare

IHYC provides support to young adults who have experienced foster care or other out-of-home placement, helping them move toward stability and self-sufficiency. Learn more.

Homeless Youth Services

IHYC provides drop-in services, emergency beds, and street outreach to youth living without safe, stable housing in the Des Moines metro. Learn more.

Post-Secondary Education Retention

A partnership of IHYC and the United Way of Center Iowa, this program helps young adults to successfully complete their education goals through case management, tutors, financial assistance, and more. Learn more.

Supportive Housing

IHYC offers individualized support and rental assistance for young adults experiencing homelessness. Learn more.

IHYC Rooftop Gardens

Our Rooftop Gardens program will serve young adults who are at-risk or currently experiencing homelessness—providing employment opportunities, access to healthy foods, and nutrition education.

Currently under development, the gardens will include hydroponic farms in a year-round greenhouse, raised beds, and vertical growing techniques.

Twelve youth apprentices will operate the growing, harvesting, and packaging of the produce, which will be distributed to local grocery stores. Learn more.

Sixth Avenue Flats

Sixth Avenue Flats is a new affordable housing project located just north of downtown Des Moines.

A portion of the apartments will be reserved for YSS youth who have aged out of the foster care system and are experiencing homelessness. The youth will receive on-site support from YSS and educational services from DMACC.

YSS will also utilize its on-site office space to offer outpatient counseling services to families and individuals in the surrounding community.


Meals served in the IHYC kitchen each year


Of youth in IHYC programs successfully transition into safe, secure housing


Youth served by IHYC each year


“I had years of pent-up tension I didn’t know I was holding. You don’t realize how much stress you are under until you aren’t under stress anymore.”

– Aspen

“If I’m having an issue, my IHYC advocate walks me through it. Sometimes that’s all I need—someone to listen and be my personal cheerleader.”

– Arminta


Kieran's Story

Growing up, Kieran experienced nearly every kind of abuse possible and was in and out of foster care—all of which took a toll. When she found IHYC, Kieran was a high school drop-out on probation, struggling to maintain a job and expecting a child.

Kieran connected with the IHYC Aftercare program then the Supportive Housing Program—which helped her move into a new apartment and learn how to manage her finances. She credits her IHYC advocates for being there every step of the way, even teaching her how to drive. “IHYC motivated me,” Kieran says. “The staff helped me with everything from finding resources to applying for jobs.”

Today, she is working on her GED and is the most financially stable she has ever been in her life. Through everything, Kieran never lost custody of her daughter, Royalty. She also completed her probation. “I’m focused on growth,” Kieran says.

Our Leadership

IHYC Community Advisory Board
Chair: Joseph Barrett
Vice Chair: Marcy Baker

See a full list of board members.