Who We Are
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:
FOUNDATIONAL BELIEF 01
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.
FOUNDATIONAL BELIEF 02
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.
FOUNDATIONAL BELIEF 03
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.
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
Ehren Stover Wright- Institute for Community Alliances
Annie Uetz | Vice Chair- Polk County
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
Jim Cain | Contract Employee
515.282.3233 | Info@homewardiowa.org
505 5th Avenue, Suite 1000 Des Moines, IA 50309
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