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Understanding homelessness around Iowa

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

How do people become homeless? When you’re homeless, what are the barriers to finding permanent shelter?

A new survey looks at the lived experiences of people in Polk County who live unsheltered — people who live on the streets or in places not intended for human habitation. It also sheds light on the barriers people face to obtain housing.


  • Anthony Cruise, employee at Lighthouse Center
  • Elizabeth Talbert, assistant professor of sociology Drake University
  • Angie Arthur, executive director of Homeward Iowa
  • J'nae Peterman, director of housing services at Waypoint
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Caitlin Troutman is a talk show producer at Iowa Public Radio