Upper Des Moines To Do Homelessness Count

Graettinger, Iowa — The community action agency for part of our area will be conducting a homelessness survey this week.

Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. Housing Services Coordinator Tanya Thelen tells us they will be conducting a Point in Time Homelessness Count on Wednesday, January 25, 2023.

They’re trying to pass along the message that if you’re experiencing homelessness, Upper Des Moines wants to help. She says they want you to call 515-269-7105 to complete a short survey about your homelessness situation.

Thelen says they hope to find out how many people are homeless and what their current situation is, so that they can provide support. Upper Des Moines Opportunity, Inc. Housing Programs can assist individuals experiencing homelessness by providing resources including rental deposit and short-term rental payments. The program is designed to break down barriers and support those experiencing homelessness while they gain back self-sufficiency. Homelessness often looks different in rural communities. She says people might be living in a car, at a campground, in a garage, and so on. It can be hard to know just how many people are experiencing homelessness, according to Thelen.

She tells us Upper Des Moines is the Designated Lead Agency for the annual Point-In-Time Count covering 12 counties in Iowa: Dickinson, Emmet, Clay, Palo Alto, Buena Vista, Pocahontas, Humboldt, Wright, Sac, Calhoun, Webster and Hamilton. She says Upper Des Moines officials will travel through that area on January 26th, looking for any individuals that appear to be homeless (such as living in cars, tents, parks, on the streets, etc.). The data collected affects Iowa’s funding allocations from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

According to Thelen, it’s important to note that to be included in the Point in Time Count individuals must meet the definition of literally homeless which means the person slept in a place not meant for human habitation on the night of January 25th. (such as in a car, on the streets, in tents, outdoors, in homeless shelters, in a shelter with no heat or electricity, on a park bench, in a barn, etc.) She says they cannot count those who sleep on a friend’s couch.

You can visit the UDMO Housing Program website for more information: https://www.udmo.com/programsservices/housing/



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