Apr 13, 2021 - News

Des Moines begins push for two-in-one housing units

Illustration of a house with a padlock shackle on the roof in an open position.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

There’s a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday for a new model home project that includes two-in-one housing.

  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) are built alongside or within another home on a single-family lot.

Flashback: The character Fonzie on "Happy Days" lived in an ADU, which was an apartment in a garage.

Why it matters: ADUs are part of a new push by DSM to help address a shortage of affordable housing.

Be smart: Central Iowa faces a shortfall of tens of thousands of new housing units over the next few decades, according to a DSM study from 2018.

  • Affordable units are essential to sustain and grow our metro’s population, the study found.
  • New zoning approved by DSM in 2019 enabled more ADUs.

But until now, there has not been a strong model or precedent for ADUs in DSM.

  • The new two-story home at 1007 Euclid Ave. will include a garage with a 480-square-foot, one-bed apartment.

The project’s collaborators, AARP and Home, Inc., hope the design can be replicated as an option for caregivers and care recipients to live close to each other, Brad Anderson, the group’s Iowa director, told Axios.

  • The AARP will launch an advocacy push in June to promote more ADUs in DSM.
  • "So buckle up and get ready for ADUapalooza this summer," Anderson said.

This story first appeared in the Axios Des Moines newsletter, designed to help readers get smarter, faster on the most consequential news unfolding in their own backyard.


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