Plan for homeless village of small houses goes to Des Moines city council

A Des Moines-based nonprofit dedicated to helping homeless people survive, find housing and rebuild their lives has completed the first step in creating a transitional housing community on the south side of Monks.

On July 15, the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the rezoning of the land at 1661 County Line Road which would allow Joppa – the non-profit organization leading the project – to construct 50 small houses and buildings. for support services.

The project will go to city council for approval in August, according to Joppé spokesperson Kayla Choate.

Preliminary plans would be to start with 24 loft cottages. Each chalet is a small single-family home with a kitchenette and bathroom. Several cabins will also be accessible to people with disabilities.

With a community center, gardens, support services and vocational training, the village would be a gated community for people without secure housing, helping them get back on their feet – “All things that together we believe will help people rebuild their lives and secure permanent housing, ”Choate said.

The project has been in the works for more than five years for Joppé, who was looking for a site for the proposed community.

Choate said the site meets Joppa’s main requirement: that the community be within a mile of a bus stop and convenience store.

“We would also provide a shuttle service to the nearest bus stop, which is the most frequently used, on Army Post Road,” Choate said.

Learn more about Joppé’s journey:Tiny houses offer answers to the homeless population of Des Moines, but where can they be built?

A 24-hour Joppa staff member would help oversee the closed village and ensure residents follow its zero tolerance policy on drugs and violence.

So far, the project has not encountered any direct opposition from neighbors, although some associations of neighboring neighborhoods have requested more information.

Curt Carlson, housing program manager for Joppa, told the Planning and Zoning Commission meeting last week that the association has already met with some neighborhood associations and plans to meet more of them as the project evolves.

“We are looking for more than approval, we are looking for acceptance,” Stevens said. “We are looking for this community to be adopted by the neighborhoods and we think it offers very good long term opportunities for volunteering.”

The Des Moines Metro Wastewater Reclamation Authority owns the land along County Line Road, which has been idle for about 30 years, Carlson said.

He also said the land south of the proposed site is in a floodplain, which means it is unlikely to be developed.

Plans for the raised cottages are still being finalized, with a prototype expected this fall.

After:Four people arrested at Des Moines city council meeting after council voted to approve more than $ 1.5 million in new police funds

Melody Mercado covers the east of the Des Moines metro for the register. Contact her at [email protected] or Twitter @melodymercadotv.

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