Iowa Quality Standards

Supporting a Statewide System of Homelessness Services

The Iowa Council on Homelessness wants to eliminate homelessness in Iowa. The Council decided the best way to make progress toward that goal is to create a strong, connected system of quality services all across the state. The Council has invested in a peer-driven process to gather stakeholder experience and develop the standards and these supporting materials as a solid foundation for ongoing activities to build and strengthen Iowa’s statewide system of homelessness services.

Basic information about the Iowa Quality Standards:

  • Use of the standards by any organization or program is voluntary.
  • The standards are practical and designed to identify what is necessary in quality organizations and programs.
  • The standards cover governance, operations, services, and performance.
  • They apply to all kinds of services: outreach, emergency shelter, transitional housing, permanent supportive housing, Rapid Rehousing, Housing First, and prevention.
  • They apply to all kinds of organizations and programs, regardless of size or structure: nonprofit, faith-based, or private.
  • They work equally well for established and start-up organizations or programs.
  • They apply regardless of the source or type of funding that supports the organization or program. In other words, they are not designed specifically for federally funded programs.
  • The standards are valid and valuable in every part of Iowa. 

Handouts about the Iowa Quality Standards that may be shared with others: 

Iowa Quality Standards User Handbook

The Iowa Quality Standards User Handbook was developed primarily as a tool for implementing the standards and to assist organizations or programs at all stages of development in identifying their own needs. In the User Handbook are detailed explanations, measures, and lists of resources to assist organizations in meeting each specific standard.

It is intended that organizations or programs be introspective and honest, with this handbook serving as a means of self-appraisal and improvement. Leaders, boards, staff, and those wishing to start programs, will all find value by providing new ideas, connections, or resources


Legal Disclaimer

The materials available in this handbook and in any related documents are for informational purposes only and not for the purpose of providing legal advice. You should contact your attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular issue or problem. 

How to Use the Appendix

The documents included below are intended to serve as additional guidance to meet the standards listed. They may include forms or examples and should not be considered applicable to all organizations. Please feel free to modify the documents to best match the needs of your organization and those you serve.

As a reminder, a “standard” is an element of a homelessness program’s governance, operations, services, or performance that is necessary for a quality program and meets funder requirements.

Click on the link to any of the following documents to assist you in your work in meeting the Iowa Quality Standards. You may view the document on screen or download and save it to your computer.

To see which standard(s) each document may support, click on the white down arrow next to that document to show a list of the standard(s) that relate to that particular document.