Anawim Housing
Monthly E-Newsletter | February 2023
Giving Voice to the Unsheltered and Examining the Findings of The Unsheltered Study
By: Cynthia Latcham, Executive Director
Cynthia Latcham, Anawim Housing Executive Director, penned the following article on the importance of The Unsheltered Study, which was published in January, 2023.

Anawim Housing is proud to have been a community partner of the Polk County Unsheltered Study.  The study was a collaboration by Homeward, community stakeholders and funders, and Drake University who partnered together to survey people living unsheltered in our community. The group hoped to gain a better understanding of the struggles people face and to collect both qualitative and quantitative data that would inform community and systems policies that impact the unsheltered population.
The stakes are high for people who live unsheltered. Extreme weather, safety, meeting basic needs of hydration and food all contribute to potentially deadly outcomes. Given how hard it is to live outside, our community needed to ask people living in those circumstances why they would continue to stay unsheltered when emergency shelter was available to them. It is a best practice to solicit feedback from customers in any line of business. Focus groups, product testing, and analysis of the customer experience is standard in the for-profit sector. Affording that same opportunity for people living unsheltered is critical to finding solutions. 

What We Know:
We know it is hard to live unsheltered. And the study results bore that out. We know it’s hard to live in a communal living setting, such as emergency shelter. The people who are living unsheltered told us this. We also know it is incredibly hard to operate an emergency shelter. Dedicated people work in the field and face daily challenges that most of us will never experience. But the study gives our community recommendations and potential solutions that both people who are living unsheltered want and are supported by an extensive literature search on the topic. None of the recommendations will be easy to implement and all will require multi-system and agency cooperation.  

Read the full article by clicking READ MORE

We have a unique volunteer opportunity: Anawim Housing is seeking enthusiastic and hardworking individuals and groups to help us move furniture. This is a great group or corporate volunteer day opportunity!

An Anawim staff member will be on site to help guide, assist and answer any questions as furniture is moved from guestrooms to a holding space. The furniture that needs to be moved will be repurposed in newly renovated apartments for our tenants who are leaving homelessness.

  • Groups of 8-10+ people
  • Individuals who are able to lift up to 50 pounds and ably go up and down stairs

If this opportunity interests you, please click to learn more and fill out our Volunteer Interest Form!

This past month was a busy one for our program team. Some highlights included:

Program Tenant Moving Day:
Anawim program staff and members of ReNew Crew spent a day helping move several individuals in our permanent supportive housing program into new housing. While sometimes unforseen events can lead to renter displacement, Anawim partnered with the landlord to help locate and provide housing for tenants at another of their managed properties. Our goal at Anawim is always to help our tenants stay housed - so packing up boxes, hauling furniture, and providing emotional and physical support is all in a good days work.

ReNew Crew:
In 2022, ReNew Crew completed 465 jobs at various properties and is set to grow that number in 2023! This team of hardworking individuals continues to shine and we couldn't be more proud of them and all they've accomplished. ReNew Crew is Anawim's supportive employment social enterprise - helping place Anawim program participants, who have a desire to work, into employment with few barriers and access to supportive on-the-job training.

Keep up to date on fun program updates, photos and stories by following us on Facebook. Click to connect!

Pictured: Anawim Program Managers Taz Clayburn-Stills, and Lynsdie Angus help their tenants move items to their new residence.
Pictured: Members of ReNew Crew perform cleaning and light maintenance to prepare a unit for move-in.

CATALYST: Join our Community Engagement Council
Catalyst is Anawim's Community Engagement Council, which through education and advocacy, aim to shape the conversation of homelessness in Iowa. We achieve this by addressing and challenging common stereotypes and myths about homelessness, and work together to create opportunities for community awareness and engagement.

Catalyst is made up of young professionals from across Des Moines who share in our mission by bringing innovative solutions and intention to help elevate our message to new audiences.

Pictured: Members of Catalyst gather in 2022 for one of our monthly meetings
Join us for a meeting!
Does this group and the important work they are involved with interest you? Please consider joining us for one of our monthly meetings! We are seeking new members who have a curiosity to learn and a passion to advocate for those most vulnerable in our community. Click to learn more!

Anawim Housing has open positions to join our dynamic team! Current openings include:

  • Asset Manager
  • Director of Advancement

Employees of Anawim Housing enjoy work/life balance, generous benefits, time off, career growth opportunities, fun, and a culture of gratitude. Benefits include: Health, Dental, Vision, Company Paid Disability, Company Paid Life, and 401(k) with company match.

Visit our employment page to learn more and apply by clicking READ MORE

Interested in helping us work to end homelessness?

Anawim Housing develops stable homes and strengthens communities