General Information

The Polk County Housing Continuum is seeking nominations of individuals who have overcome challenges to move from homelessness to hope.  Successful nominees will be recognized at the annual Opening Doors Awards Ceremony on November 20, 2019 at Curate. The successful award recipients and the nominating agencies both will be recognized and will receive monetary awards at the luncheon.


Recipients may be recognized in categories. Past categories have included: youth, single adult, family, and Veteran. Nominees must have experienced homelessness and successfully overcome various challenges to move toward self-sufficiency. For example nominees may have overcome barriers in areas such as education, employment/income, secure housing, and/or attaining positive community engagement.

Nomination Process

  • Secure the nominee’s agreement to be nominated.

  • Provide a narrative (maximum of 750 words) explaining why the nominee should receive the award. You may also include other supporting documentation such as news articles, certificates of achievement, or letters of support.


Completed application packets must be submitted online at by July 26, 2019.

If unable to use the electronic submission form, applications may be delivered to the Institute for Community Alliances at 1111 - 9th Street, Suite 380 in Des Moines (515-246-6643) by the due date.

Submission of a complete and legible online application or application packet is the sole responsibility of the nominator. Applications that are missing information will not be considered for review.  To ensure that the selection committee has adequate time to consider all applications, no application will be accepted after the deadline. 

Award Notification

The nominators of the successful award recipients will be notified by phone and or email no later than August 5, 2019.  Interviews and filming for the documentary will begin shortly thereafter.

Judging Process and Criteria

Judging will be undertaken by a panel to include representation from the Polk County Housing Continuum.  Organizations submitting a nomination will not be represented on the panel. The judging panel will assess each nomination according to the stated criteria and select a winning candidate in each category.  The decision of the judging panel is final.


Award recipients are encouraged to:

  • attend the awards ceremony, and be available immediately prior to the luncheon for publicity purposes.

    1. to appear in a brief documentary film about their life and accomplishments that will be shown at the luncheon.

    2. provide consent for release of a photo.

Award Criteria

1.       Nominations will be accepted, and presented in categories. In the past those categories have included the following:

Youth Age 16 to 21 (may be older than 21 at the time of nomination, but will have experienced homelessness as a youth (may include young parents and pregnant women). Single Adult 22 or older, Family Unit, Veteran

2.       Nominee must have experienced homelessness and successfully overcome various challenges and be achieving/ have achieved self-sufficiency as a contributing member of the community.

For example, has s/he shown initiative and accomplishment in areas of education, employment/income, obtaining secure housing, community housing?  These areas are further described in the following nomination form.

Nominees are not expected to have demonstrated accomplishment in all of these areas, and may demonstrate their success through other avenues.

Award Nomination Form

To ease preparation of materials, the questions that appear on the web submission form are detailed below. As you prepare your nomination, keep in mind that the reviewers will not know the nominee.  Please clearly explain how/where the nominee was homeless and describe accomplishments and characteristics that exemplify the Opening Doors support for those “overcoming various barriers in moving toward self-sufficiency.” The committee will look for information about the nominee’s growth and change.