The Birdland Area sustained devastating flooding during the floods of 1993 and 2008 when the levee breached along the Des Moines River.

Prior to the flood, 270 homes occupied the Birdland Area. After the flood, just 54 remained. Over nearly a decade worth of focused effort, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity partnered with the City of Des Moines, community organizations, and residents of the Birdland Neighborhood to bring it back to life. In the fall of 2019, GDM Habitat dedicated the last of 34 new homes to be added to the neighborhood, in addition to more than 100 homeowner-occupied repair projects.

Today, Birdland is an area filled with residents, filled with life, and filled with hope. Here’s how it happened.

1993 & 2008

Floods devastate the Birdland area, leaving just 54 homes remaining out of the original 270.


GDM Habitat begins to acquire land in the Birdland area, including 11 individual parcels that today comprise the Pocket Neighborhood.


The City of Des Moines names Birdland as an area for redevelopment, setting the stage for significant investment.


GDM Habitat worked with a local engineering firm to begin a zoning process to reconfigure Birdland into buildable lots.

May & June 2017

GDM Habitat’s Birdland Blitz constructs 10 homes on Watson Avenue in just two weeks.


GDM Habitat staff and Board members secured the necessary funding and began construction of the Birdland Pocket Neighborhood.

Fall 2019

GDM Habitat dedicated the 24th and final new home in the Birdland Pocket Neighborhood.