Youth & Shelter Services, Inc.

About Us

 We believe we are making a difference.



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 individuals and families can live independently and attain self-sufficiency. IHYC specifically serves individual youth (ages 16-21) at-risk of or currently experiencing homelessness, and pregnant and parenting youth (ages 16-25) and their children. We are the only organization uniquely dedicated to serving non-system involved, transition-age youth in Iowa.


The Programs

IHYC works with youth through five key areas of focus: employment, education, living skills, positive community engagement and safe housing. Programs include:

  • Youth Opportunity Center (YOC) / Street Outreach Program – A hub of client support, service referrals and emergency need fulfillment for homeless youth, ages 16-21. The YOC includes a daily meal program, 9 emergency beds, access to showers and laundry, art programming, and a computer lab.
  • Supportive Housing Program – The Buchanan Transitional Living Program is a co-ed program that serves youth ages 16-21; the Lighthouse Transitional Living Program serves pregnant and parenting homeless youth, ages 16-25 (and their children). Youth can live in our facilities free for up to two years while they work on improving their independent living skills, education, and employment.
  • Iowa Aftercare Services Network – IASN provides case management and support to youth (ages 18-21) that have aged out of the Iowa foster care system.
  • Post-Secondary Education Retention Program (PSERP) – Works with a co-hort of 18 youth to help them complete their secondary education, such as two-year associate’s degree at DMACC, trade school, and/or transition into a 4-year college degree (such as Grandview, Drake, Iowa State). Program components include case management, financial coaching, mentor matching, and a monthly financial stipend.



In 2016, IHYC programs touched the lives of more than 600 Iowa youth. These youth were from Polk County and surrounding areas, including Ames, Ankeny, Colfax, Des Moines, Marshalltown, Mason City, Sioux City, Waukee, Urbandale, Johnston, West Des Moines, Newton, and others.

  • 95% of youth discharged from IHYC programs were transitioned into safe and appropriate housing
  • In 2016, IHYC served over 15,000 meals to homeless and at-risk youth in Central Iowa.


We believe you can help make a difference.


There are many opportunities to help IHYC transition youth into successful adults.


Learn more about how you can get involved or donate now.



Iowa Homeless Youth Centers

612 Locust Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50309

(515) 883-2379



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