AMOS regularly organizes research action teams to find concrete, specific, and winnable solutions to the problems plaguing families in our community. These volunteer, citizen-led issues teams are formed out of the small group house meeting process AMOS organizes every two to three years. Our issues grow out of this bottom-up, grassroots process of listening and telling our stories. Over our 25+ year history, AMOS has amassed an impressive track record of finding solutions to otherwise divisive, complex public problems through an intensive, win-win, non-partisan approach to politics.
Healthcare and Mental Health
Secured $1.8M in Polk County ARPA funds to retain and diversify Polk County's mental health workforce through a loan repayment program.
Went door to door to pass a local option one-cent sales tax by 70% to provide $400,000/year in funds for children's mental health services in Des Moines.
Developed new children's mental health crisis services in Polk County by working with Broadlawns Medical Center, the City of Des Moines, and Polk County Health Services. Secured children's crisis services include establishing a hotline, community stabilization team, youth stabilization center; hiring new pediatric mobile crisis responders; and hiring a mental health clinician within the 911 dispatch to better assess mental health calls in Des Moines. In its first year, the CARE program responded to 1,500 mental health crisis calls.
Helped secure passage of a three-year funding bill for mental healthcare in the 2017 Legislative session, while protecting the governance and funding of Polk County's public hospital, Broadlawns Medical Center. In 2012, AMOS helped secure passage of mental health services reform legislation.
Brought the first Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC) to Story County in 2014, now providing care to thousands of low-income and underserved residents of Ames and the surrounding area.
Secured access to free prenatal care for hundreds of uninsured pregnant women in Story County by initiating a partnership with Broadlawns Medical Center, Free Clinics of Iowa, and Des Moines University.
Saved hundreds of Iowans from bankruptcy through the expanded charity care agreements reached with six major Central Iowa hospitals.
Fought for passage of the "Kathleen Brown bill" in the Iowa State Legislature that ensures our state's in-home daycare providers are paid promptly and accurately.
Established the Story County Housing Trust Fund, a permanent source of funding for affordable housing projects, rental assistance, and home rehabilitation for families in Story County.
Expanded the number of affordable housing units slated to be developed in Ames, by backing a proposal for the City Council to purchase the "Old Middle School" parcel with Community Development Block Grant Funds and successfully urging the council to increase the percentage of planned affordable housing units to 60%.
Juvenile Justice Reform
Initiated Let's Talk, a school mediation program now in more than ten Des Moines Elementary and Middle Schools that supports students to learn how to resolve conflicts peacefully before they escalate into larger problems for the students, the schools, or the community. Let's Talk was chosen as a 2017 class project by the Greater Des Moines Leadership Institute.
Established a successful restorative justice diversion program with the Des Moines Police Department in which youth make amends for first time offenses through mediation and gain a second chance to move forward without a criminal record. AMOS is currently supporting legislation to reinstate this program, which was put on hiatus after the passage of legislation in 2016.
Launched a racial profiling project with the ACLU and the Des Moines Chapter of the NAACP to document cases of racial profiling as they occur in central Iowa.
Observed over 300 juvenile delinquency court cases in Polk County as part of the AMOS Court Watch initiative to help ordinary citizens keep an eye on justice.
Elevated the importance of the restorative justice approach as the most effective means of accountability for youth offenders by organizing a major conference on restorative justice and education hundreds of Central Iowans on the criminal justice system, restorative justice circles, mediation skills, and conflict resolution.
Increased voter turnout to ensure passage of a local option sales tax for critically needed infrastructure improvements to Des Moines public schools.
Won multi-million dollar upgrades to prevent flooding in the Southeast Bottoms neighborhood of Des Moines.
Created North America's largest skate park, which has hosted major skating events—including the 2021 Olympic Trials—and brought a new, riverfront public space to downtown Des Moines.
Helped expand transit access to hundreds of low income and refugee families living at the Deer Ridge apartment complex in Des Moines by bringing key stakeholders to the table and working to create the political will to implement a solution. As a result, in 2018 DART is beginning a pilot shuttle service from Deer Ridge to a local shopping plaza with connections to major bus routes.
Created Project IOWA, a workforce intermediary that has trained and placed over 700 formerly impoverished central Iowa residents into career track, living wage jobs with Iowa companies like Vermeer, Bridgestone, Mercy Medical Center, and Sauer Danfoss in Ames.
Learn more at projectiowa.org.
Conducted an in-depth needs and services assessment of the Ankeny Community, led by a team of leaders from Our Lady's Immaculate Heart Parish, who produced a high-quality report highlighting the areas of transportation, housing, mental healthcare, senior services, children in schools, public safety, and cost of living. More than 400 Ankeny residents in six congregations have discussed the report in house meeting conversations so far.
View the full report here.
Trained thousands of ordinary Central Iowans in effective leadership development skills that build strong communities, strong congregations, and strong civic organizations. Together, we will continue to build relational power and make democracy work for families in Central Iowa!