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Youth Homelessness


Our Plan

As part of Polk County's Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program, community stakeholders and youth engaged in a comprehensive planning process to prevent and end youth homelessness. Months of planning and partnership have resulted in Polk County's Coordinated Community Plan, a document that outlines our community's strategy to support young people's strengths and needs as they secure safe stable housing. 


For more information or to join in the work to prevent and end youth homelessness,

contact Community Engagement Coordinator Amy Croll at

Youth Homelessness

Demonstration Program (YHDP)


Polk County is a community dedicated to supporting youth and young adults with the resources they need to thrive. As a community, it is our task to ensure there is a clear pathway for young adults to swiftly access appropriate services, thereby making youth homelessness a rare, brief, and nonrecurring experience for Polk County residents.

In 2019, Des Moines/Polk County was awarded a transformative grant by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to meet this very need. As one of 23 communities nationwide selected for the Youth Homelessness Demonstration Program (YHDP), Polk County has a unique opportunity to increase resources to prevent and end youth homelessness. YHDP has awarded Polk County $1.86 million ($930,000/yr.) for a two-year demonstration project that displays our community-wide approach to serving youth in innovative ways.

To lead this local effort, the Polk County Continuum of Care has collaborated with key stakeholders across the community, including young people, to develop a number of project types as priorities for YHDP funding. Below, please find additional information about the 2020 YHDP Awards.

Youth Homelessness Projects

YHDP projects are designed to provide housing options and supportive services for people under the age of 25 who are experiencing homelessness or are at risk of homelessness. Crucially, the projects also focus on racial equity and addressing the disproportionate number of black youth who experience homelessness.

The list below represents the YHDP 2020 Grant Recipients for Polk County:


Anawim Housing

$375,464 for Youth Housing Opportunities Program to serve young people with disabilities


Institute for Community Alliances

$74,940 for Homelessness Information Management System data work to manage grants


Iowa Homeless Youth Centers

$304,178 for Mental Health and Drop-in Services program and $527,448 for Individual and Family Youth Rapid Rehousing Program


Children and Families of Iowa

$364,618 for Transitional Housing/Rapid Rehousing program for youth who have experienced domestic violence


Primary Health Care  $162,446 for a Youth Housing Navigator position

YHDP grant projects have been developed in partnership with the greater Des Moines community including Homeward, the City of Des Moines, community health and service providers, youth specific-providers, government partners, HUD, and the Iowa Department of Human Services. The process has also been led by the Youth Action Council, a local group of young people with lived experience in homelessness who will help implement projects and provide feedback to agencies throughout the grant period. Projects are currently serving young people across the community. 

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