Where children achieve. Families thrive. Prosperity is created.

Where children achieve. Families thrive. Prosperity is created.

“Family” is a common thread in the tapestry of Oakridge Neighborhood. Our community is made up of families of all kinds – large and small; households of one individual; and people of numerous nationalities, religions, and all the other wonderful ways people are different from one another that make the fabric of a neighborhood unique and so rich. Oakridge Neighborhood is collectively a family of people hopeful in the promise of prosperity.

Since our founding in 1969, Oakridge Neighborhood has been a vibrant and diverse community housing hub. As a leader within the affordable housing ecosystem in Des Moines, we are proud of our stable, quality housing and the innovative, effective and relevant family-centered social services that set us apart. Oakridge Neighborhood delivers for residents and community members responsive services that have created opportunities for thousands of families to succeed and become economically independent.

Special thanks to our invested donors and friends, our supportive board, and our devoted team for an unwavering commitment to the residents and clients we serve. Because of you, Oakridge Neighborhood remains steadfast as the place where children achieve. Families thrive. Prosperity is created.



Nestled on 17 acres in the heart of downtown Des Moines, Oakridge Neighborhood is a place where residents not only live but thrive. It is Iowa’s largest Section 8 housing complex, with 300 townhomes ranging from efficiencies to five-bedroom units, and 39 senior living apartments. In addition to stable, secure and affordable housing, it is unique in offering a full family of nurturing wraparound services to help lower-income individuals and families on their journey to attain personal and economic empowerment.


  • Centrally located housing accessible by public transportation and within walking distance to grocery stores, health facilities and cultural attractions
  • Large expanse of well-maintained greenspace and food-producing gardens
  • Numerous campus wellness and recreation amenities: Basketball courts, Mini-soccer pitch, Play City playground, Pocket-parks, Prairie Meadows Splash Park
  • Onsite preschool, youth programming, and family and workforce services
  • Units for visually, hearing and mobility impaired
  • Campus-wide broadband
  • Silver Oaks senior living with underground parking, limited access entry, fitness center, community rooms


The stable housing at Oakridge Neighborhood has helped Eritrean American Mirra thrive since moving here in 2021. She attended numerous financial literacy courses at Oakridge, and since has been consistently employed, has paid off a $10,000 debt, and has separate savings accounts for a home and her three children’s educations. She is now a case worker in Oakridge Neighborhood’s Family and Workforce Programs, and her personal journey has been a source of inspiration for others.


Family and Workforce Programs

Oakridge Neighborhood’s Family and Workforce Programs serve speakers of multiple languages with innovative programs designed to help individuals and families prosper with sustained self-sufficiency and long-term success. Our robust and ever-evolving programming focuses on career services and placement, family engagement and professional development, and asset building and financial empowerment. Our team helps individuals and families navigate a path to prosperity through intensive, personalized case management to eliminate barriers to success.


  • Multilingual staff proficiently serving Oakridge Neighborhood and Des Moines area clients, including refugees and immigrants
  • Workforce Resource Center computer lab and laptop loaner library
  • Robust programming, including career preparation and placement, financial literacy, English language adult literacy, citizenship, computer literacy, driver’s education, and pathways to homeownership
  • HOPE for Stable Families Program, providing comprehensive support to families as they work to attain long-term financial stability
  • Vaccination and health clinics
  • Food and essentials pantries


Tia is part of the HOPE for Stable Families Program offered by Oakridge’s Family and Workforce Programs. She is receiving support and setting goals to move to long-term financial stability for herself and her daughter, Sage. A key goal for Tia, who works full-time while pursuing an accounting degree, was securing a reliable vehicle. She was able to do so with a local car dealership through our corresponding program — Wheels of HOPE.


Youth Education and Engagement

Oakridge Neighborhood is a designated 21st Century Learning Center providing much needed support through afterschool and out-of-school programming focused on the academic, social, emotional and enrichment needs of students. By providing an array of meaningful Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) programming which wraps around each child from kindergarten through high school, we help elevate each student’s academic and developmental success.


  • Students engaged 2-3 hours daily in afterschool programming
  • Programming includes academic support and homework assistance, reading and literacy, enrichment opportunities, social/emotional learning activities, wellness and physical activity
  • Focused on improving academic outcomes in core areas of math, science and language arts
  • Certified teachers align programming with feeder school curriculums
  • Enrichment programming with Ballet Des Moines, Des Moines Arts Festival, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE Jr.), 4-H, STEM on the Ridge, and more
  • 10 hours daily programming for eight weeks during Summer Blast Camp
  • Summer Youth Employment Program paid internships for youth ages 14-21, plus jobs skills workshops, career exploration and leadership development
  • Stability for students providing a safety net of caring adults offering personal interventions at school, home and after school to ensure the best possible outcomes for each student


Keigan, pictured here with sister Jordyn, is a 1st grader who started in Oakridge’s youth program as a kindergartner, without prior preschool instruction. He struggled personally, academically and socially. Through the stability of the afterschool program and his hard work, he has made huge strides. He is proud that he is now equipped with the appropriate social and coping skills, is able to follow along with his teacher in classroom activities, and has positive interactions with his classmates.


Early Childhood

Oak Academy Early Learning and Preschool Program is a top-quality education center, earning a Level 5 – the highest rating available – on the state of Iowa Quality Rating System. It is a challenging curriculum-based early enrichment preschool for children ages 6 weeks to Pre-K, designed to ensure students begin kindergarten with a love of learning and skills on par with their peers. Accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children, the program provides safe, nurturing and high-quality care and learning.


  • Creative Curriculum founded on principles of child development
  • Designed to meet social, emotional, intellectual and physical needs of the whole child
  • Free onsite developmental screenings for all preschoolers to help identify cognitive, motor, communication, and social-emotional delays which may warrant further diagnosis and services provided onsite
  • Ethnically, culturally and economically diverse student and teacher population, serving youngsters from across the Des Moines Metro
  • One of the few child care centers in Metro area accepting Child Care Assistance
  • Certified, fully credentialed and degreed teaching staff with 500+ hours of professional development annually


Taniya and her two siblings attend Oak Academy. Their mother Marshay values the stability and quality programming her children are receiving. Her eldest daughter Camyia will head to kindergarten in the fall, already reading and fully prepared to learn alongside the classmates she will join just across the street at Edmunds Elementary.

Thank you for your support!

Thanks to the generous support of our donors and community partners, Oakridge Neighborhood is a stable community Where children achieve. Families thrive. Prosperity is created.


  • Monetary donation
  • Planned gift
  • Matching gift
  • In-kind donation
  • Stock donation
  • Support a fundraising event
  • Volunteer time
  • Share Oakridge Neighborhood News




Kristin Littlejohn

Chief Development Officer


(515) 244-7702

Our Vision

We are the premier housing and service provider offering a stable community where children achieve, families thrive, and prosperity is created.

Our Mission

We enrich diverse communities through exceptional housing and inclusive support services for adults, children, and families, providing pathways to prosperity.

1401 Center Street

Des Moines, Iowa 50314

(515) 244-7702