612 Locust Street

Des Moines, IA 50309


P: 515.883.2379

Email for general inquiries



Iowa Homeless Youth Centers (IHYC) works to eliminate homelessness among children, youth, and young families in Central Iowa. We believe, with support and assistance, homeless youth can attain self-sufficiency and break the cycle of poverty.

Through case management and advocacy, our dedicated staff works with youth (16.5-24) and young families to become self-sufficient, and plan for a healthy and successful future.

How You Can Help

Through the generous support of our volunteers and donors, IHYC is able to impact the lives of more than 600 youth each year. There are many ways to get involved.

Make an Impact Now!
  • Get involved with one of our annual events like Reggie's Sleepout, the IHYC Golf Classic, and beyond!
  • Sign up for our monthly newsletter
  • Learn more, read our 2020 Impact Report!
  • Donate needed items off our amazon wish list or view our list of needed items. you can drop off items at our Youth Opportunity Center (612 Locust St.) Monday to Friday anytime from Noon to 6 p.m.


Provide Financial Support

Your financial gifts make a significant impact on the lives of the youth we serve. Your investment in our youth will help IHYC to break the cycle of poverty.


You may also provide your gift by check. Please mail to: IHYC, 612 Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309. IHYC will provide documentation for tax purposes.

If you would like to learn more about making a planned or deferred gift, please contact IHYC  for more information at 515.883.2379.

Still want to donate? Visit our Amazon wish list of our most-needed items.



Our Programs

Our programs focus on helping youth set and achieve goals in five key areas: education, employment, safe housing, life skills and positive community engagement.

IHYC Youth Opportunity Center

612 Locust, Des Moines

Dedicated to exclusively serving the needs of at-risk and homeless youth (age 16.5-24), the Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) provides a safe place for young people to connect with services. Our staff is committed to meeting youth where they are in life, and assisting them in taking the first steps to self-sufficiency and a successful future.

Located in downtown Des Moines, IHYC’s Youth Opportunity Center provides a variety of services, including:

Street Outreach

A hub of crisis counseling, service referrals and emergency need fulfillment, IHYC youth advocates provide outreach to youth living without safe, stable housing.

Drop-In Center Services

Showers and laundry facilities, a cell phone charging station, donation center access, service referrals and staff support are available for youth needing help.

Daily Meals

Provides free, nutritious meals at lunch (12-1 p.m.) and dinner (5-6 p.m.) to all at-risk and homeless youth ages 16-22

Emergency Beds

For youth (age 18-24) who have an urgent need for housing, the Youth Opportunity Center offers nine low-barrier, single bed units. Youth may stay for up to 30 days while working with IHYC youth advocates to meet immediate needs and plan their next step towards self-sufficiency.

Art Studio

Computer Lab

Mental Health Counseling

Our Mental Health Counselor provides mental health support, available to youth IHYC programs.

IHYC Rooftop Gardens

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers’ Rooftop Gardens program will serve transition-age youth who are at-risk or currently experiencing homelessness, providing employment opportunities, access to healthy locally grown foods and nutrition education.

Goals of the program are:

  • Break the cycle of poverty by providing guided work experience and a living stipend
  • Improve access to healthy food and meet the nutritional needs for low-income and homeless youth
  • Develop a self-sufficient entrepreneurial project that creates a partnership with our nonprofit organization, retailers and consumers in the community

Currently under development. The program will include a combination of hydroponic farms (inside of a year-round functioning greenhouse), raised beds and vertical growing techniques.

A program coordinator will supervise 12 youth apprentices annually, who will operate the growing, harvesting and packaging of the produce. The finished product will be distributed to local grocery stores, markets and other retailers to sell to consumers. After construction and initial operating expenses, the IHYC Rooftop Gardens will be a self-sufficient program.

You can help youth grow by investing in IHYC Rooftop Gardens. Contact IHYC at 515-883-2379 to learn more.

Supportive Housing

Our Supportive Housing programs offers youth safe housing and a chance for so much more. A case manager works with each youth to set and achieve goals related to education, employment, safe housing, life skills and positive community engagement. Support, information and referrals are provided 24 hours a day.

Lighthouse Transitional Living Program

Up to 10 homeless young families (age 16-25) and their children can live at the Lighthouse for up to two years. While in the program, these youth receive not only a safe living environment, but also assistance in life and parenting skill building.

Lighthouse Transitional Living staff work one-on-one with youth to create and accomplish an individualized plan for self-sufficiency. In addition, participants are supported in learning about parenting, child development, nutrition, wellness and childcare. While at the Lighthouse, young parents are encouraged to complete or further their education, maintain regular employment and place a portion of their salary in a savings account to use after leaving the program.

Rapid Rehousing

Twelve youth (age 18-22) can move into their own stable housing quicker with IHYC’s Rapid Rehousing program. Youth are able to live in their own apartment, while still receiving support from Rapid Rehousing program staff. While in the program, youth will receive rent assistance on a sliding scale, as they work to obtain stable employment at a livable wage and achieve overall self-sufficiency.

For information about supportive housing programs through other YSS locations, visit our Transitional Services page.

Iowa Aftercare Services Network (IASN)

The IASN addresses the needs of young adults (age 18-23) who have aged out of the foster care system. For those transitioning into adulthood, assistance is provided to develop and achieve individual goals, along with connecting to available community resources. IHYC provides Aftercare services for youth living in Polk County. For more information, visit our dedicated program page dedicated for IASN.

Post-Secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP)

PSERP works with youth as they complete their two-year associate’s degree, or a trade certificate. Program components include intensive case management, financial coaching, mentor matching, job search support and a financial stipend. For more information, visit our dedicated program page for PSERP.

Our Leadership

The Community Advisory Board and staff of Iowa Homeless Youth Centers provide strong leadership and a commitment to ending youth homelessness.

Meet our Community Advisory Board

IHYC Leadership Team

Toby O'Berry - Iowa Homeless Youth Centers & Transitional Services Director

Toby O’Berry

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers
& Transitional Services Director

Katie Polush

Kate Polush

IHYC Associate Director

Blake Willadsen

Development Coordinator

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