CENTRAL IOWA SHELTER & SERVICES

Rating: 4.69 stars   13 reviews

Issues: Job Training, Homeless & Housing, Human Services, Religion

Location: 1420 Mulberry St. Des Moines IA 50309 USA

Mission: Central Iowa Shelter & Services' mission is to provide free shelter and meals to homeless adults regardless of physical or emotional conditions, and to facilitate their move toward self-sufficiency.
Target demographics: Homeless Adults (18+)
Direct beneficiaries per year: almost 2,000 unduplicated individuals through our homeless opportunity center
Geographic areas served: Central Iowa
Programs: emergency shelter, transitional and permanent housing with a community service wing providing an on-site health clinic, food pantry, clothing closet and classroom.

2010 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

Rating: 1 stars  

It is beyond obvious that every reviewer is a board member. This is the worst shelter as far as actual services provided. The food served at breakfast and lunch will give you diabetes, if it doesn't poison you. Case managers have for the most part no knowledge of services available to help people. The management get large salerys, when it is supposed to be a non profit. Theft of V.A. funds to the tune of several million dollars, the loss of the C.R.R.C. program for instance. Even if a "client" hasn't used their services in 10 years they will be considered a client forever.

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Rating: 5 stars  

In the past year, Central Iowa Shelter and Services has assisted more than 1,200 guests, providing transitional shelter opportunities, as well as shower and laundry facilities. CISS also offers a weekly medical clinic, HIV screenings and counseling services, substance abuse and mental health evaluations, legal aid and GED exam preparation. The organization is focused on providing a host of resources to help clients achieve independent living such as case management, counseling, life skills instruction. In the past year, CISS has successfully placed 152 individuals were transitioned into stabilized housing. Their commitment to our community goes beyond their own walls. The Central Iowa Shelter Community Kitchen program delivered more than 89,000 meals at six sites around Polk county last year alone.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Personally, I have been extremely impressed with the staff and their level of output given their resources and limited space. That dedication has earned great respect for CISS from community and business leaders throughout the metro area.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Central Iowa Shelter and Services is in desperate need of a larger space. Residents are overflowing from the bunk rooms meaning many have to sleep in the common area's chairs at night. Plans are in the works for a new, state-of-the-art building that will greatly relieve the space issues and allow the organization to expand its outreach and training roles in the community.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a board member for over 6 years and seen Central Iowa Shelter and Services transition from a facility that solely focused on emergency sheltering to one that is committed to helping individuals on a path to self sufficiency. The staff and volunteers of Central Iowa Shelter and Services are first rate and truely committed to making a difference in the greater Des Moines community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

serving on the board of directors and serving meals

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

More funding to grow the services.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

1999

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Rating: 5 stars  

I volunteer at Central Iowa Shelter & Services because I want to do something that is a direct benefit to the people in our community as well as the community as a whole. I have limited time to volunteer, so its important to me that I work with an organization that is well-run and truly dedicated to its mission. CISS is both. Its staff works hard with their clients to help them become independent, and they work tirelessly to provide as many services as possible.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Serving meals to clients, donating clothing, helping with fundraisers and special events

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Help them build a larger facility.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I began volunteering at Central Iowa Shelter and Services in September 2010 and was immediately impressed with how well the organization is run and how welcoming and helpful the staff are. Another thing that impresses me about the shelter is how well connected it is to the community. Several restaurants and bakeries regularly supply their extra food to the shelter, many civic and religions organizations volunteer to make and serve the evening meals, and there is a steady stream of donated items given to the shelter. The clients i have met seem very appreciative of the services provided and the opportunity to have their basic needs met while getting back on their feet. The shelter seems to always be running at full capacity so I look forward to when the new building is completed so they can expand the services that are offered.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The success stories I've heard of individuals who have been served by the shelter and the gratitude expressed by those served by the daily lunch program.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make the facility larger so more people can be served. Thankfully, a new facility will soon begin construction.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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Rating: 5 stars  

I came to know about Central Iowa Shelter & Services when I worked for the local festival and events group. At the conclusion of one of our Festivals, we donated several items (food and t-shirts) that remained from our volunteer program. Today, I'm a proud member of the volunteer PR team and also donate clothing and other items for the residents on a regular basis. I am constantly learning about the wonderful things CISS is doing to help those in need and take pride in knowing that I am a (very) small part of that. The staff and volunteers who contribute to CISS' successes are a bright spot in our community.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Hearing about the many residents that successfully transitioned out of the shelter and are living independently today. It's so inspiring!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Make sure their new building was constructed soon!

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Rating: 5 stars  

Central Iowa Shelter & Services has an amazing set of services to offer and our community is proud to have CISS. I participate on the PR Committee, who provides a quarterly newsletter to donors and volunteers to keep them updated on progress, share the unique stories of the people who utilize the services at CISS, and extend gratitude to those who donate time or money to the shelter. Whether you have utilized the services yourself, volunteer, or donate, CISS stands out with an honorable reputation.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Hearing from our donors and volunteers that they enjoy the newsletter, and watching more people ask to become a volunteer.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Unsure.

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have been a volunteer at CISS for over a year now. I check clients into the shelter and see the people firsthand who are trying to put their lives back together. After living in Chicago for 20 years and recently moving back to Des Moines, I was incredibly impressed with the staff and services but saddened by the out of date facility. I believe the shelter needs the new facility to accomodate the growing problem of homelessness in our city. The team of professionals and volunteers who provide the meals are terrific and very dedicated. Without these amazing people, the shelter would not be able to survive.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Volunteering

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Expidite the building of the new facility.

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Rating: 5 stars  

CISS is amazing. The have a food rescue network all over town... they have a garden and are expanding... they have a nutritious 2-week menu designed by ISU dieticians they share with volunteer groups... they partner with other shelters (youth, etc.) in the area... they offer professional development and job placement assistance for the needy... and they just CARE... Keep up the great work !!!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

My volunteer opportunities, and personal interactions with staff around the City of Des Moines... Tom Vance and Tony Timm.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Give them more $$$.

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Rating: 5 stars  

Central Iowa Shelter & Services plays a crucial role in getting homeless adults off the street and on the path toward self-sufficiency. It is a careful steward of public and private funds, and annually serves with a limited budget thousands of people through leveraging a strong volunteer force and careful expenditures. The shelter is in the process of constructing a new building, which will enable better service to more individuals in the years ahead.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

maintaining the shelter's core mission of service to its clients while maximizing the impact of public and private dollars in its operation.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Improve the shelter's physical facilities, which thankfully will happen with the building of a new shelter in the next two years.

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