Home for the Holidays

The Story Behind Home for the Holidays Campaign

Home for the Holidays

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Between September 1 and November 19, 2020, a cooperative program has successfully stopped 376 evictions, saving 958 individuals, including 374 children, from losing their place to live — making it possible for them to be home for the holidays. This served as the inspiration for a campaign that raises awareness about efforts to keep Polk County residents from being evicted due to the financial impact of COVID-19.

The program, which is a collaboration between PCHTF, Polk County Continuum of Care and Iowa Legal Aid meets tenants and landlords at the Polk County Justice Center where eviction hearings are taking place. Leaders from the organizations negotiate with landlords and commit to paying an agreed to amount for back rent and receive a guarantee the tenants will not be evicted. It started with an investment of $800,000 from the Polk County Board of Supervisors, which ran out the first week of November. PCHTF’s board of directors called a special meeting November 6 and unanimously voted to extend the additional $150,000 of funding to keep the program operating and that investment will likely be depleted before the Thanksgiving holiday.

“This is literally the last thread of the social safety net,” said Eric Burmeister, Executive Director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund. “As eviction filings across Polk County continue to rise, the need for eviction mitigation efforts need to grow in tandem. We are committed to ensuring our community’s most vulnerable families and individuals have a safe, stable, and affordable place to call home — especially during the holiday season and with the coldest and most dangerous months ahead.”

Those rescued from eviction have included residents from Altoona, Ankeny, Des Moines, Grimes, Pleasant Hill, Urbandale, and West Des Moines.

To learn more community resources to prevent homelessness contact Angie Arthur, aarthur@pchtf.org or call (515) 282-3233, ext. 6.

Home for the Holidays 2020 Ad