DES MOINES, Iowa — Homelessness is not an issue unique to Iowa or Des Moines, but the city’s houseless population is in the spotlight after Exile Brewing Company owner Amy Tursi’s comments to city council this week.

“I think that our homeless shelter is the best. It is the Ritz-Carlton of homeless shelters,” said Tursi, in a statement you can watch here. “It is crucial that these people that our homeless receive our services. We are undermining all of the good the homeless shelter is doing by allowing these people to get breakfast and dinner…you can see the pictures of them lined up and passed out.”

There are more than 2,600 chronically houseless people in Iowa, according to the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness, a branch of the federal government.

Tursi’s comments focus on Central Iowa Shelter and Services, which is located a block away from Exile’s brewery and taproom. In a statement released to social media Thursday, co-owner RJ Tursi said Exile employees are not allowed to walk to the employee parking lot alone due to the nearby presence of CISS and the people who use its services.

Exile Brewing and CISS both could not provide an interview to WHO 13 by press time.

Youth Shelter and Services, better known as YSS, provides services to teens and young adults experiencing homelessness separate from CISS. YSS president Andrew Allen said the need for more resources across the board is glaring after the pandemic.

“YSS and Iowa Homeless Youth Centers need more people doing this work and more financial support to get this work done,” Allen said. “My job is to advocate for these kids, who often times don’t have their own voice.”

Allen said Iowans need to remember to be compassionate when encountering those who are struggling with homelessness.

“Part of my message, and that of YSS, is never give up on what might be a hopeless case,” Allen said. “Continue to push forward for hope and opportunity.”