HOPE Changes Families' Lives

HOPE for Stable Families works with central Iowa families each year to set goals, remove barriers, and find support in moving out of poverty to long-term financial stability. The initiative is unique in that it provides comprehensive support to parents and children at the same time, also known as a 2Gen approach.  

United Way of Central Iowa re-launched HOPE in 2018, thanks to a grant from the Siemer Institute

HOPE for Stable Families is breaking the cycle of poverty for the next generation by addressing the complicated barriers that impact parents and children.

Meet Lisa

Bad relationships and drugs ruined her life. United Way's HOPE Initiative, a female friend and mentor, and her own determination saved it. Her kids’ smiles are the reward.


What Is HOPE for Stable Families?

United Way is working with HOME Inc., Oakridge Neighborhood, and Hawthorn Hill to provide case management and support to 55 families each year. Several partners are helping families meet needs around job training, child care, transportation, legal services, dental services, and more, that can be barriers to financial stability. 

Half of the families enrolled in HOPE for Stable Families are facing homelessness, while the remaining are moving out of crisis and toward financial stability, with the potential for home ownership. Case managers especially focus on ensuring children remain at their current school and have support. 

Why is HOPE needed?

One-third of central Iowans do not earn enough to cover basic household expenses and save. HOPE especially works with low-income families who need long-term stable housing. Des Moines has 13,789 extremely low-income households but only 6,224 affordable units. During the 2015-2016 school year, Des Moines Public Schools reported 920 homeless youth at its schools and that about 30 percent of its students moved to a different school during the year. 

HOPE for Stable Families works with families to set goals with a focus on keeping children at their current school and families secure long-term stable housing. It's approach is unique in that it works with families across generations to provide support that addresses many barriers to moving toward financial stability. 

Results of HOPE

Most families: 

  • Increased their income through work
  • Secured stable housing
  • Parents worked toward degrees or certificates to gain skills for better jobs
  • Children passed all of their classes and advanced to the next grade



"HOPE for Stable Families brings together many partners to provide comprehensive support to families who have many barriers to moving out of poverty. The results over three years show that this level of support is what families need to achieve financial stability long-term."

Michelle Seibert
Michelle Seibert
Economic Opportunity Officer

elsie.rotich@unitedwaydm.org  (515) 246-2511