Opening Doors from Homelessness to Hope

Formerly homeless people tell their stories

Opening Doors from Homelessness to Hope

Every year, the Opening Doors luncheon celebrates the journeys from homelessness to hope experienced by thousands of people in the Polk County area. These journeys happen for a myriad of reasons, but they all involve the hard work and cooperation of Polk County providers in conjunction with the individual efforts of the people and families experiencing instability. At this event, we celebrate that hard work and the spirit of community so evident in Polk County.

Funds raised through the sale of doors, tickets, and direct donations at the November 16 event benefit the R. Dean Wright Memorial Fund, and are used to pay for the event every year, including awards to the recipients. Excess funds are used for community projects decided on by the service providers who participate in the Opening Doors Committee.

This year the Opening Doors Committee and the R. Dean Wright Memorial Fund purchased 13 high quality Lebeda mattresses at a discount, along with box springs, frames and sheet sets to be used for families on that last step of their journey to stability. As families move from permanent supportive or transitional housing into their own home, one of the most difficult things to afford is a bed. Families, children and adults, frequently move into their new home but have to sleep on the floor. Opening Doors is doing what we can to address that, thanks to the ongoing support of the community. 

Congratulations to this year’s Opening Doors award winners:

  • Amie Wentland (family recipient), nominated by Cynthia Latcham at Anawim Housing
  • Kia Harrison (youth recipient), nominated by Kate Polush & Michelle Smith at Iowa Homeless Youth Center
  • Jeff Heslop (veteran recipient), nominated by Jan Zeleke & Jorie Hidri at Central Iowa Shelter & Services
  • Rocio Nunez (single adult recipient), nominated by Niah Howard at Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity and Sergio Hernandez at Hawthorn Hill

You can listen to the stories of these four inspirational winners by watching this documentary filmed for the event.