Since opening in February of 1990, New Directions Shelter has provided free, temporary, emergency shelter and services for Iowa’s homeless families with children. The shelter is located at 3001 Grand Avenue in Des Moines, IA.
Our New Directions Shelter program not only benefits the community by providing emergency shelter for the homeless families we serve, but we also provide the services to help the families work towards financial independence. We assist the adults in the families with job opportunities and training to promote their economic empowerment. We also assist our families with obtaining any public benefits that they are entitled to.
[From Oliver, Creator of This GoFundMe]
The New Directions Shelter in Des Moines is very important to me as a person. I am going on 37 years old, and I was a member of one of the first families to be helped by this homeless shelter program when I was 8 years old.
Myself, mother, and brother were homeless in the summer of 1990 and New Directions helped us get back on our feet. A 21 year old girl just out of college named Jennifer Jorgensen née Hermann took special interest in our family and worked with us on a near constant basis to ensure that we could get our self-sufficiency as a family back. Even after we had resettled, we had formed a deeply personal connection as individuals, and she would go on to become a family friend.
Many years later I grew up to become a successful man, having wedded, becoming a parent, authoring books, becoming a cyclist, and inspired to help others. After 25 years, I was able to track down Jennifer Jorgensen again to let her know what kind of man I had become and how her kindness to those who were down would influence me for the rest of my life.
On Wednesday July 18, 2018 Jennifer and I made a trip to New Directions Shelter to see how far they've come and to see what struggles the shelter is facing in assisting these families. We met with the current Operations Manager Kiana Hines for 2 hours, touring the current facility and their needs.
In 2017 New Directions went from being a homeless shelter for women and children to being a homeless shelter for families, regardless of make-up. Same sex parents, single dads, single moms, grandparents with their grandchildren, and more. Families in need. There is also a very high success rate of getting these families placed into permanent homes, with 70% of the people that come through the shelter able to obtain steady employment and maintain their homes with their families.
Unfortunately during this transition period, the individual needs of some of these family units have been under-served. Kiana Hines told us of the struggle to find and receive key items that make the transition easier for these families, items such as day to day toiletry and hygiene products, clothing for older boys and men, footwear, interviewing clothing, feminine hygiene products, and more.
The children struggle as well, particularly in items that any child needs for their education, such shoes, backpacks, spiral notebooks, among other necessary school supplies.
New Directions has very little in way of discretionary funds to procure these items, leading to struggles. The intent of our campaign is to provide immediate, tangible help with a swath of these items. From making sure that the fathers and older boys have clean shaving supplies, to making sure that people have new clean clothes to help get their lives restarted.
In the interest of the beginning of the upcoming school year, one of our big focuses will be to make sure that the educational needs of the children will be met, and for that our deadline is quite tight! Less than a month (for the Des Moines Area School District).
With the requested funding above, we intend to procure many of these wish list items and personally deliver them to New Directions Shelter; there is no red tape, no bureacracy involved. The items that you help provide will go directly to the people who need them most.
If only 200 people donate $10 a piece, we'll meet our goal!
Please help us continue to help others, and create more great successes in the world. It starts here!
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