DMARC - Des Moines Area Religious Council emergency assistance.

There is an immediate emergency supportive service from Des Moines Area Religious Council which offers assistance to needy families and individuals living under severe financial strain. The main focus of the aid available in Polk County Iowa is to maintain a client’s current residence (from the Housing Stability Fund) and keep them fed. This will thereby eliminate any dire threat of homelessness or hunger.

Immediate assistance from the charity may come in the form of financial help for certain bills or rent, food, clothing or any other daily living need that needs to be maintained for survival. They also run a service known as LADOS for those with a deceased spouse. Families from across the community work with DMARC in a safe manner in a case by case scenario. Sustainable action plans are established to help maintain a secure living arrangement over the long term for each client.

Rent and utility bill help from DMARC Housing Stability Fund

Emergency and crisis intervention services from DMARC help low income as well as homeless individuals meet their basic needs. The charity may offer transportation to a job interview, food from a pantry, clothing, showers and laundry facilities. Funds are limited, especially when it comes to rent help from the Housing Stability Fund, and there is often a waiting list or referrals given instead.

Case management is offered to all clients who turn to the Religious Council for assistance. Advocates work with entire families to help them develop plans to escape homelessness and gain independence. Referrals are provided as well. Furthermore, Des Moines Area Religious Council acts as a coordinator of services for homeless families.

The agency also conducts outreach services to build trust with persons who may not be ready to seek assistance, including the homeless who are on the streets of Des Moines. DMARC may begin a relationship with a person by simply offering a cup of coffee, a hot meal or blanket. The next step is working with other agencies in the service territory to check on the welfare of individuals living in poverty or on the street. The Des Moines Area Religious Council objective is to be available when such persons are ready to engage in the services the agency has on offer.





Not only may rent or security deposit assistance be available to people facing homelessness, but vouchers for free motel stays are available to qualified adults. Most of the lodging arranged by the Religious Council is for a parent accompanied by minor children, including single fathers or moms with children, through the Emergency Motel Voucher Program.

When seeking housing help, it is mandatory that adult applicants have proof of residency, income, and, if applicable, children with them. Also, applications must be completed in person, with a personal development coach. Please call to make an appointment.

Note that all requests for homeless prevention from DMARC need to go through the Polk County Community, Family and Youth Services Department. Financial help for heating bills, rent, and other housing needs is only offered at most once per year. Anyone seeking help needs to call 515-286-2088.

Food and hunger prevention services from the Area Religious Council

Anyone that is struggling to consistently feed their family can register for food programs from Des Moines Area Religious Council. A pantry is open five times a week for distribution. The food boxes passed out to clients (whether they are unemployed, live on a fixed income, or in poverty) may include perishable and non-perishable items. The groceries may be canned tuna, fruits and vegetables, cereal, peanut butter, soup, infant formula, bread, yogurt, fresh produce and milk.

This distribution is key to enhancing the stability for low income and at-risk individuals and families in Polk County. The staff can also refer residents to public aid, such as TEFAP- USDA Commodities once a month or provide SNAP food stamp applications.

Surplus senior USDA food commodities – A healthy, nutritional box of free food may be passed out. To qualify for this DMARC program, an applicant must meet the income requirements, be a resident of Des Moines Iowa, and of course be 60 years of age or older. It is a federal program that provides items such as cereal, ensure, dry milk, meat, cheese, canned goods and juice. Seniors need to register and also participants of the commodity service can only be registered at one site in Polk County.





Volunteers are needed to keep this programs running. One way to donate is through Red Barrel. These are scattered around the community, and allow people or businesses to drop off food, household goods, or cleaning supplies. All donations to the Red Barrel will keep the DMARC food services operating.

DMARC wants low-income, struggling clients to become independent and maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle. They also want people impacted by the death of a spouse to gain stability, and this is what LADOS will help them do. Classes as well as workshops for self-sufficiency and/or LADOS are offered to help nurture positive qualities in clients. These life skill classes provide training in nutritional education, parenting education, job readiness, debt reduction, legal rights and more.

For more information on the Des Moines Area Religious Council, the address is 1435 Mulberry Street, Des Moines, IA 50309. However, referrals for financial help need to go through social services, as indicated above. But the DMARC main number is 515.277.6969.




By Jon McNamara

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