- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 11, 2014

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) - A center for homeless youth has bought a historic building in downtown Des Moines that in the past has housed a theater, clothing store and cafeterias.

Iowa Homeless Youth Centers plans to move into the two-story building in early 2015, the Des Moines Register reported (https://dmreg.co/1bJ17aZ ).

The center has raised $1.3 million of a $2.3 million capital campaign so far, and it needs another $650,000 before it can start renovating the century-old building. It was recently purchased for $525,000 by the center’s parent organization, Youth & Shelter Services.

The building will house an area where 25 to 30 people between the ages of 16 and 21 can get a shower and a meal, and there will be a few emergency beds. They can also receive services such as help in applying for a job or earning educational certifications including a high school diploma or an associate’s degree.

Toby O’Berry, director of Iowa Homeless Youth Centers, said many of the youth have had difficult lives.

“Their home life is so dangerous, they’d rather be on the streets,” he said.

The center has had a street outreach program at another location since 1989. The new location will have a combination of youth programs and offices for management and staff. A separate location will have transitional homes for young single mothers.

The historic building went up in the early 1900s. It housed a theater for several decades. A department store closed in 1986, and the basement was home to two cafeterias.

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Information from: The Des Moines Register, https://www.desmoinesregister.com


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