Who We Are

Our Mission


Homeward serves as Polk County’s homelessness planning organization, forging strategic partnerships between homelessness organizations, community partners, government officials, and people experiencing homelessness. Through these partnerships, we’re creating an efficient, effective homeless response system that meets all residents’ strengths and needs. Our work is to ensure that Polk County residents rarely experience homelessness at all and that their stay in homelessness is a brief, one-time experience when it does occur

Homeward is driven by the following principles:


Housing First

Research tells us that the most effective way to end homelessness is to quickly house people with no preconditions, requirements, or barriers. Once people are safely housed, they can then begin to pursue their goals and engage with services or treatment.


Racial Equity

Data shows us that people of color, and Black individuals in particular, are heavily over-represented in Polk County’s homeless response system. Homeward examines racial disparity in programs to build equitable services and dismantle systemic racism. 


Community Collaboration

Homeward acts in close partnership with the Polk County community to ensure a coordinated approach to preventing and ending homelessness. We collaborate across sectors to engage in innovative partnerships that elevate community voices. 

Board Members


Homeward's Board of Directors is a diverse, passionate group of individuals united in the work to ensure that one day, everyone in Polk County will have a safe place to call home. Their leadership guides Homeward in creating a coordinated approach to ending homelessness by distributing funding, best practices, data, and training. 

Dr. Ahmed Agyeman- Evelyn K. Davis Center for Working Families 

Katie Albrecht-Snell- Nationwide

Miah Baum- Newbury Living

Lisa Crabbs- City of Des Moines

Angela Dethlefs-Trettin | Secretary- Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines

Frederick Gaddy- St. Paul AME Church 

Lorna Garcia- Des Moines Police Department

Charles Hill- Iowa Civil Rights Commission  

Kendyl Larson- Polk County Housing Trust Fund 

Renée Miller- United Way of Greater Des Moines

Tami Nielsen- Food Bank of Iowa

Jill Padgett | Chair- Iowa Department of Human Rights 

Shane Parker- Principal Financial Group


Manisha Paudel- Des Moines Civil & Human Rights Commission  

Rebecca Phong- Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency 

Catherine Reaman-Gerdes- Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services 

Nathan Simpson Treasurer- Primary

Health Care 

Ehren Stover Wright- Institute for Community Alliances  

Annie Uetz Vice Chair- Polk County

Health Services

Amanda Wanke- Des Moines Area Regional Transit Authority 

Whitni Warnke- UnityPoint Health 


DaVossi Wisdom- Iowa Homeless Youth Centers 




Homeward's small, but mighty staff takes a system-wide approach to homelessness by looking at all pieces of the puzzle, identifying community gaps, and leading innovative solutions. We operate as a hub of strategic planning, expertise, and partnership on homelessness in Polk County.


Angie Arthur | Executive Director


Abbey Barrow | YHDP Coordinator

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Jim Cain | Contract Employee

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515.282.3233 | Info@homewardiowa.org

505 5th Avenue, Suite 1000 Des Moines, IA 50309

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