What our families say

“I feel I accomplish some of my goals every single day. One of my goals for the future is to be responsible and secure enough to have my own home by the time I have to leave here. I’ve been saving money and learning something new each and every day.” —The Home Connection family


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Hawthorn Hill, Keeping Families Together

Sompong's Journey

Sampong and ChildrenSompong and his four children entered The Home Connection program in September of 2009, reunited, relieved and ready for a new start. A victim of spousal abuse, Sompong's world was in turmoil when his former wife was deemed an unfit mother and his children were removed from the home and put in foster care. After one long year of parenting classes, counseling and meeting all of the mandatory OHS requirements, Sompong was finally awarded full custody of his kids.


Once placed in their Home Connection house Sompong and his children set to work being a family again in a safe and peaceful home setting. Sompong could now concentrate on his job (that he's held for the past 15 years) and being a dad, and his children could relax and concentrate on school and just being kids... Read More


Shanika's Story

Shanika and ChildrenShanika and her five children arrived in Des Moines after the factory, where she’d worked for seven years, closed its doors and she realized that Chicago offered her few if any options. In October of 2011, she found shelter for herself and her kids at Hawthorn Hill’s New Directions Shelter.


Once safely housed at the shelter, Shanika hit the ground running. She got her children enrolled in school, started job hunting, located childcare services, and applied for eligible mainstream benefits (something she had never done before). She was very driven to get back on her feet and always surprised the shelter staff with her tenacity and ability to function effectively while caring for five children, never mind how immaculate she managed to keep their room at the shelter!


Shanika's fierce drive for independence made her an ideal candidate for The Home Connection Program for which she applied and was accepted in January of 2012... Read More

Rocio's Story

Rocio and familyRocio, a Mom on a Mission - Accomplished!


In October of 2011, a pregnant Rocio and her 3 children escaped an unthinkable situation and made their way to the Family Violence Center. Rocio was obviously terrified and very worried about her family's future. In November of 2011 she got a glimpse of the bright light at the end of this dark tunnel when she applied and was accepted into Hawthorn Hill's Home Connection program.


Never one to shy away from hard work or responsibility, Rocio got busy putting her life back
together. Since entering the Home Connection program, she completed ESL classes, earned her GED and was promoted to a supervisor position for the company she has worked at for eight years (where she started as a production worker)... Read More


Christine's Story

Christine and ChildrenChristine found herself wondering what her future was going to be while sitting in jail in Waterloo. She had been arrested for drugs and her life was going nowhere . Christine had been using meth since her father introduced her to the drug when she was 12 years old. She now was a young adult with two small children to take care of and realized she had to do something soon to be the mother her children needed. She knew if she continued the path she was currently on, she would lose custody of her children.


It was while in jail that Christine made the decision to leave Waterloo and all the bad influences she was associated with there. She found out about House of Mercy in Des Moines. She was accepted into their substance abuse program and immediately moved to Des Moines to reside at House of Mercy.  When she and her two children arrived, she had an open case with DHS and was on probation... Read More

Register Article

Homeless mother shares struggle of getting on her feetSabrina Porter, a 20-year-old mother of two, hasn't had a permanent address since aging out of foster care two years ago.


Rod Klampe II, his girlfriend and their six children lost their home in September when the 22-year-old's wages no longer covered the rent.

Both Iowans are part of Des Moines' population of homeless families, a group whose struggles often remain invisible.


It's difficult to track the number of parents who lack secure housing for their children, but social service workers say high turn-away rates at local shelters indicate the economic downturn has hit families hard. Limited resources to assist homeless parents further compound the problem... Read More



Join us April 21st for Hawthorn Hill's annual Art & More for Shelter fund raiser benefiting its New Directions and The Home Connection programs.





Click Here Art and More for Shelter