Category : Housing
Having a safe and stable home is the foundation to one’s ability to thrive, especially in today’s pandemic, and it’s critical to a child’s healthy development. Yet about 5,100 individuals are served in central Iowa’s homeless system in one year and advocates working to address homelessness expect those numbers to increase. To support families in overcoming tremendous difficulties and maintaining their well-being, we must more deeply understand what is happening, so we can think creatively and collaboratively about how to respond. HealthConnect Fellow Angie Arthur, executive director of Polk County Continuum of Care, shares these four things you should know about homelessness in Central Iowa right now.
Years of local land use and zoning policies have excluded our poorer residents and communities of color from many locations that they would otherwise have chosen to live.
As the national health conversation shifted toward “social determinants of health” and “health in all policies,” so too did housers begin a discussion of “housing as a platform.” What we all collectively realized is that our decisions have broader consequences, and that we must all work together to create real and lasting change for the people we serve.
When advocating for the needs of youth who are homeless, it would be logical to support adding shelter beds for the community. But when advocates take the time to authentically listen to those people we are striving to serve, a more nuanced set of needs emerge.
For all children in Central Iowa to have equal opportunity for good health, greater attention and resources must be directed to addressing the fundamental causes of poor health for children and youth. These fundamental causes, or social determinants, of health are often largely impacted by public and private, organization, local, state and federal policies and practices.
The Mid-Iowa Health Foundation HealthConnect Fellowship strives to engage and build the capacity of key professionals working to improve social determinants of children's health, and help them grow as public policy change agents to improve children's health in central Iowa.
This HealthConnect Fellowship Blog is intended to share learnings from the Fellows and other national experts with our broader community of children's health advocates.