St. Joseph Shelter is located at 1535 11th Street in Des Moines in the King Irving neighborhood. A recent article in the Des Moines Register sited, "Since 2003, the King Irving neighborhood has seen a 50 percent drop in vacant, buildable lots, a new city report shows. Assessed property values have increased 47 percent in the past decade, compared to a 31 increase citywide."
The current remodel and expansion of St. Joseph Emergency Family Shelter is happening before our eyes and in the spirit of this renewal of the King Irving neighborhood.
Here, Shelter Manager, Celeste Egger shares her experience and fondness of the neighborhood.
Walking to the bus stop to go to work, the summer is long, hot, humid and noisy.
The insects and birds are awake apparently 24/7, the hum of the air conditioners, lawnmowers, traffic, dogs barking, all the grateful sounds of summer.
Then I get off to head to work on busy 11th and University and I’m immediately reminded I’m in a great neighborhood. A car stops to let me make it across. A gentleman says hello on the way to his car. Kids walking to year-round school, someone letting the dog out for exercise, people walking to their destinations, a couple bike riders, too. But it seems quieter. Not the traffic I left, no hum of air conditioners, lawnmowers, or vehicles.
As I walk north toward Clark St. to St. Joseph Shelter, the noise level increases. Cement trucks, vans, and cars parked all along the street. Air hammers, drills, saws and workers’ voices fill the air and remind me how lucky we are to be in this neighborhood. Neighbors, that say “the shelter looks like it was always that way”! A neighbor who brings us fresh eggs, who will cut the grass, who needs a phone.
When families who are coming to stay at St. Joseph arrive, they often say they passed right by - meal providers too! I think it just means this house belongs here – it serves homeless families and the neighborhood serves us all.
Before Remodel After Remodel