Without shelter and stability, it can be a true challenge to get both feet on the ground. Affordable housing is such a buzzword these days, but it seems to be difficult to find a solution between material and labor costs. But what if it didn’t have to be that way?

For the past four years, BSB Design has been designing a range of solutions to temporary and permanent housing for those who may currently be homeless or live on a restricted income located in Des Moines, IA. Joppa Outreach, a local nonprofit that serves these individuals in a number of ways, is confident they can find a solution to affordable shelter. With the rent average at $850/month in Des Moines, IA, it can be nearly impossible for many individuals to keep a roof over their head.

“It all goes back to Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, we first need food and water, then safety and security. Our lives cannot begin to improve until we have those two sets of basic needs covered. These cottage homes will provide that for those trying to get back on two feet,” – Says Steve Moore, Partner at BSB Design and one of the leaders in the Joppa Cottage Home Project.



A home that stands at 384 square feet, with a monthly rent goal equaling 30% of the average monthly spending for an individual living on a restricted income. This home is built with high-quality, long-lasting materials to provide permanent shelter for years to come. It was built in a few weeks, with donated and discounted materials from local companies. The home was designed to mix in with the existing neighborhood aesthetic despite its overall reduced size. There’s a living room, kitchen with smaller than standard appliances, a bedroom and a bathroom with a storage closet. There is a raised ceiling and plenty of natural light pouring into the space to create an open, roomy, bright feel to the otherwise modest space. After seeing the first one finished, this will not be the only one. We will be designing the homes ranging from as small as 216 square feet to as large as 690 square feet to fit a variety of monthly incomes.


On Valentine’s Day, love was in the air as those involved with the project and others gathered around the first Joppa cottage home in the Des Moines area. Before the ribbon cutting ceremony, we heard from leaders of the project and from the first cottage home’s new resident, Will Winder, who saw his new home for the first time that day.


 Will described Joppa in a wonderful way, “Joppa believed in me, saw my potential. It’s one thing to provide a roof over someone’s head, but to invest in teaching them how to keep it over their head, that’s what Joppa did for me.”

For more information on our Cottage home design, please visit Joppa’s website.