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Racial Equity

Racial Equity at the Polk County Continuum of Care 

The Polk County Continuum of Care is fighting to end systematic racism in our community—and across the nation. The recent killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and many others reflect systems that are dangerous and oppressive to Black communities. Black Lives Matter. This oppression and harm must end. We must dismantle institutional racism to end homelessness in Polk County. That’s why the Continuum of Care is committing to systemic, intersectional change to end racial disparities in the homeless sector and beyond. 



Racial disparity is not only shown in the data, but in the way people in Polk County experience the homeless response system. Black individuals report discrimination in housing services and programs, both explicitly stated or through implicit bias in community systems. It’s clear that people of color, and Black folks in particular, experience homelessness in Polk County differently than white individuals and perhaps often lack equitable access to services and supports.



  • The Iowa Civil Rights Commission produced fair housing education and outreach materials in 10 languages predominantly spoken and read by refugees in Iowa. Housing discrimination is prohibited on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, familial status, and disability. These flyers and videos produced in partnership with EMBARC and Genesis Youth Foundation help residents recognize racial discrimination in housing— and take action. 



The Polk Continuum of Care is currently working with our community to develop concrete action steps to ensure racial equity in the homeless response system. Stay tuned to this page for updates, additional action steps, and new learning opportunities. In the meantime, if you are interested in joining in the work and holding us accountable, please contact Angie Arthur at for more information on our Racial Equity committee and how you can get involved.

Persons with hearing or speech impairments may obtain copies of these materials via TTY by calling 1-800-735-2942. Persons who do not speak English as their primary language and who have limited ability to speak, write or understand English may obtain copies of theses materials by calling Angie Arthur at (515) 282-3233 or emailing her at