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YSS: High demand at youth homeless shelters in Des Moines

The need for assistance from YSS and other organizations has fluctuated throughout the year, but now having open beds is a concern.

DES MOINES, Iowa — As winter weather rolls in, YSS is seeing higher demand for assistance from kids and teens in the Des Moines area.

"We're definitely doing everything we can, from inclement weather standpoint, to get kids connected with services and to partner with organizations like CISS," said Andrew Allen, the CEO of YSS. 

The need for assistance from YSS and other organizations has fluctuated throughout the year, but now having open beds is a concern.

"As things opened up, it's really become apparent that the need is great," Allen said. "We have really specific programming for transition-age youth, and are limited to just nine emergency shelter beds, they are always full. So during inclement weather, we definitely open up our drop in center, and then partner with the CISS, the adult homeless shelter, who oftentimes, you know, meets the needs of the homeless community," Allen said.

The Des Moines City Council is also joining in, with council member Josh Mandelbaum signing off on a three-part plan to ensure citizens can get help under any weather circumstance.

"One is work with our partners to provide safe housing options, an option for everyone, during these cold weather events, when when we hit weather amnesty, provide a housing option and work with our partners to do that, too," Mandelbaum said. 

The plan passed, but not every council member was on the same page making for a heated meeting. 

"I think there's different council members who have different perspectives on this. and there are some folks in our community, and I think even on the council who don't think the work we're doing with the shelters, and the option that is provided at the shelters is sufficient," Mandelbaum said.

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