Out on the streets, there is still hope

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What happens to someone who is living paycheck to paycheck in Dallas County, far from their family, who then loses her job?

And then her landlord evicts her?

There are no homeless shelters or daily community soup kitchens in Dallas County, yet there are homeless individuals and families. In fact, women with children are the fastest growing part of the homeless population.

Des Moines-based Hope Ministries is a 100-year-old mission that welcomes people from the surrounding counties. They serve more than 12,300 meals every month and provide 4,700 beds a month.

The goal of Hope Ministries is to end the cycle of homelessness and give people they help they need to become self-sufficient. Their philosophy of “housing next” — as opposed to “housing first” — drives their programming. They emphasize long-term life recovery skills and not just a cot for that night.

The many Hope Ministries programs and services include classes at shelters for men, women and children, free meals daily at the Hope Cafe, thrift stores and free clothing closets and outreach to veterans and to newly released prisoners.

Hope Ministries is privately funded. Offers of donations, including in-kind donations, can be directed to 515-265-7272 or info@hopeiowa.org.

Ann Cochran is the health navigation coordinator in the Dallas County Public Health Department.

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