A Happy Ending for Hotel Randolph Residents
Primary Health Care leads successful rehousing effort
In late August, local nonprofit Primary Health Care was presented with a daunting task -- relocate the residents of the Hotel Randolph in time for a sale to Sherman Associates by late October. The staff would have to find new homes for 89 people, many of whom were low-income individuals with prior evictions, criminal backgrounds, and/or utility arrearages, in just 60 days. While it was no easy feat, they succeeded. With the support of the community, the developer, and the City of Des Moines, all of the Randolph residents were relocated on time and under budget.
To begin the process, Primary Health Care had to take a census of Randolph residents as new occupants had moved in. They next assigned the residents to tiers based on how much assistance they were expected to require, and assigned each resident a caseworker. The caseworkers worked with each resident to develop an individual housing plan, taking into account their needs and the barriers they face in accessing housing.
Randolph residents could elect to receive a wide array of services from Primary Health Care, including case management, housing search assistance, and financial assistance for rent, deposits, utilities, or applications. They could also get rides to apartment showings and help moving, and some even received new beds courtesy of Polk County General Assistance. Some residents opted out of this support and instead received a $200 Visa gift card to help them relocate on their own.
Primary Health Care caseworkers worked with a housing navigator who diligently contacted landlords and struck deals to place residents in market rate housing owned by 36 different companies. 68 people were rehoused in efficiency, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom apartments in the Des Moines metro, and many of them now pay less rent than they did during their stay at the Randolph. Residents were involved in their housing searches and were free to choose a home that best suited their individual needs and desires.
This effort was a successful collaboration of many parties led by Primary Health Care’s dedicated staff, including funders Sherman Associates, City of Des Moines, the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines and United Way of Central Iowa, as well as support from Polk County General Assistance, the Des Moines Municipal Housing Agency, Unity Place, Anawim Housing, and HOME Inc. Des Moines is fortunate to have a community of providers willing to pull together in times of need, and we thank all of the involved parties for their hard work.
Click below to read Primary Health Care's full report on the Randolph relocation, or click here to visit Primary Health Care's website.