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The Iowa Balance of State and Homeward to serve as lead agencies for Federal grant awarded to improve youth homelessness systems


CONTACT: Courtney Guntly

Iowa Balance of State Director


Des Moines, Iowa - The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded the Balance of State, Homeward, and its community partners with a $1,008,159 grant on Friday, June 14 as part of the national Youth Homelessness System Improvement Grant Program (YHSI).

As a requirement of the funding to have two CoCs involved, the IA BoS serves as the lead applicant for the grant and will subcontract with Homeward. Through the joint application, 97 of Iowa’s 99 counties will be impacted by the work which will focus on alignment with new HHS regions, staff training, and youth leadership development. The Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services were among the entities who provided letters of support for the grant application. Community Youth Concepts, One Iowa, Iowa ACES 360, Iman Consulting, KT Consulting, and the Institute for Community Alliances will be part of the state-wide training team to enhance system improvement.

The goal of YHSI grants is to create a more seamless and coordinated system of care for youth experiencing or at risk of homelessness. These grants aim to improve the identification of youth in need and make it easier for them to navigate available services. The Iowa YHSI project plans to increase the voices of youth with lived experience, expand and strengthen cross-system collaboration, train youth-centered agencies, and work to remove barriers to housing and services associated with race and gender equity. With the redesign of Iowa’s Health and Human Services, the timing of this grant will assist with the re-alignment of federal homeless services with the new Iowa HHS regions. Over the next several months, the states selected for these grants will work with their Continuum of Care Boards, local Youth Action Boards, child welfare agencies, and other community partners to roll out local youth leadership expansion programs, training opportunities, system alignment strategies, and develop a program evaluation framework.

 “The Youth Homeless System Improvement Grant Program will help our state by increasing the capacity to effectively address the needs in our homeless system.” says Courtney Guntly, Balance of State Director. “With partners working together to create and implement a targeted training plan and by working to increase and expand the voice of those with lived experience, the Balance of State and Homeward will be making a collective impact for our homeless youth and our providers.” states Angie Arthur, Homeward’s Executive Director.

Iowa is one of 26 states funded through the YHSI grant. The YHSI grant is a 30-month grant. The full federal HUD press release can be found here:

About Iowa Balance of State

The Iowa Balance of State Continuum of Care serves 96 counties (excluding Polk, Pottawattamie, and Woodbury) and is dedicated to ending homelessness through community collaborations, data-driven strategies, and best practice housing interventions. To learn more about the Iowa Balance of State, visit

About Homeward

Homeward serves as Polk County’s homelessness planning organization, forging strategic partnerships toward ending homelessness. By distributing funding, resources, and data, Homeward seeks to create an efficient, effective homeless response system that meets all residents’ strengths and needs. We lead community-wide homelessness planning efforts to ensure that one day, everyone in Polk County will have a safe place to call home. To learn more about Homeward, visit

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