Informing community efforts to end homelessness with meaningful, data-driven solutions since 1990.



ICA Honored as a Celebrate Business Award Winner

GREATER DES MOINES, IOWA –  The Institute for Community Alliances (ICA) has been recognized with a Celebrate Business Award from the Greater Des Moines Partnership and the Des Moines Business Record in the category of "Best Kept Secret." Since 1999, the Celebrate Business Awards have promoted the Greater Des Moines business community by acknowledging innovative and enduring business initiatives. The awards are presented annually to business winners in several categories, including embracing innovation, promoting lifelong learning, building a reputation for integrity and quality while remaining outside the public limelight, cultivating young leaders and encouraging investment in the community.

Founded in 1990 to develop, implement and evaluate innovative programs targeted to assist at-risk and underserved households in Iowa, ICA is a private, not-for-profit agency based in Des Moines. Over the last two years, ICA has become the largest provider of its kind in the United States, managing data systems, engaging in research and producing reports on homelessness that lead to improved service delivery for vulnerable individuals.

ICA thrives in its role as a backbone organization, recognizing the value of nurturing relationships built on trust. The 42-person ICA team supports implementation of 10 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development-approved database systems, and ensures technical assistance and training for 3,000 database users in agencies that assist over 430,000 people every year. 

In 2016, ICA was recognized by the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness as a member of the veteran response team that met the challenge to end veteran homelessness in Des Moines, resulting in 388 veterans and their families being placed into permanent housing. Ultimately, ICA provides data-driven solutions that inform service providers, policymakers and funders working together to improve our greater community.

ICA was honored at the Celebrate Business and Economic Impact Awards luncheon on Thursday, November 17th. More than 190 Central Iowa business and community leaders attended the luncheon to celebrate all award recipients.



A Tradition of Service

The Institute for Community Alliances has been providing technical support and guidance for communities, nonprofit agencies and programs for more than 25 years.

Founded in 1990 to develop, implement and evaluate innovative programs targeted to at-risk, and underserved households in Iowa, we are a private, not-for-profit 501(c)(3) agency. Over time, as ICA has evolved and successfully responded to requests for assistance both in and outside of Iowa, our service network has continued to grow. We currently have a presence in nine states, including Alaska, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

We remain committed to delivering in-depth expertise and comprehensive services that help our partner agencies and communities achieve their full potential in assisting vulnerable families and individuals.

ICA provides diverse services, training, and technical support to 925 programs and more than 3,000 licensed database users at the local, regional, and state level.

We are honored to support the work of a growing number of communities and states working to end homelessness.



Leadership Team

At the core of any successful organization is its people. We believe our staff members and ICA partners are our strongest assets.

Here at ICA, we have assembled a leadership team with over 90 years of nonprofit and public sector experience, including database implementation and oversight, public policy, administrative management, case management, budgeting, resource development, advocacy, program implementation, evaluation, training, regulatory compliance and more.

Recognized as one of the nation’s leading implementation teams for Homeless Management Information Systems (HMIS), ICA director-level staff are dedicated to generously sharing their collective 50 years of HMIS expertise and knowledge in efforts to end homelessness.



HMIS – Improving Lives Through Data-Driven Solutions

A Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) is a locally-administered database that is used to record and analyze client, service, and housing data for persons who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless.

At ICA, HMIS has been central to our work since 2001.

HMIS provides the capacity to integrate and de-duplicate data at multiple levels, including project, system, local, and state, and to de-identify data at the national level. Across the ICA network, the use of HMIS is helping policymakers, researchers, service agencies and other community stakeholders to more fully and precisely understand the size, scope, and dynamics of homeless related issues.

Perhaps more importantly, HMIS is providing the foundation for data-driven solutions that are stabilizing the lives of some of our country’s most impoverished children, youth, adults, and senior citizens.

Now in its fifteenth year, HMIS is used by several federal partners and their respective programs and funding recipients in efforts to end homelessness, including:

  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS);
  • U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD); and
  • U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)



Homeless No More – A “Real-time” Data Strategy

Des Moines, Iowa was one of the first cities to sign on to First Lady Michelle Obama’s challenge to U.S. mayors to end Veteran homelessness. As the Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) Lead for Des Moines for nearly fifteen years, the Institute for Community Alliances was naturally positioned to organize and lead the initiative.



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