State programs for homeless receive $9.5 million in federal funds

DES MOINES — The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has awarded Iowa funding to help the homeless in the state.

Iowa Finance Authority spokeswoman Ashley Jared says it will help what’s call the Continuum of Care (CoC) program fund 47 homelessness assistance initiatives, including one in Forest City.  “It’s highly competitive. Iowa was awarded $9.5 million statewide — which was an increase — and that’s really a credit to our amazing partners throughout the state that run these service programs for Iowans who need the help the most to get back on their feet again,” according to Jared.

She says a variety of programs won funding — including a unique one in Iowa City. “We’re actually calling it a national model. Shelter House has done a housing first project, helps Iowans who might have some other issues, who are chronically homeless, getting a roof over their head first, and then assisting them with some other issues,” she explains.

Those other issues involve physical and mental health. Sioux City, Forest City, Davenport, Muscatine, Waterloo, Clinton and Oskaloosa are some of the other cities that received funding. Jared says homelessness impacts thousands of Iowans. She says the Iowa Institute on Community Alliances 2018 report found around 16-thousand Iowans were homeless at one point in 2018  “So it is a problem. Of course, our goal is to eliminate that problem altogether,” Jared says, “and these projects that were awarded these funds will certainly help to do that.”

Jared says the funding to Iowa has been increasing in recent years, and that is because the organizations have done a good job of showing the need.
She says HUD looks at things like data-driven results and the Finance Authority helps the organizations put together the grant requests.
“And again we are thrilled with the $9.5 million , it is the highest we’ve gotten in several years.”

There are three CoCs, including Des Moines/Polk County, Sioux City/Woodbury County and the Iowa Balance of State CoC, which covers the rest of the state with the exception of Council Bluffs, as it is included in the Omaha CoC.

The one local award was for $232,317 to the Forest City-based Family Alliance for Veterans of America organization for their “Passport to Independence” program

See the full list of awards here: Continuum-of-Care-Awards