Apr 5, 2022 - News

Polk County announces $15M affordable housing initiative

Houses made out of money
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

More than $15 million in federal pandemic assistance will be used to create more affordable housing in Polk County, according to an agreement supervisors approved Tuesday.

Why it matters: Central Iowa has a deficit of nearly 12,000 affordable homes, according to a study by the National Low-Income Housing Coalition last year.

  • Research shows that increasing access to affordable housing can improve economic mobility and foster growth, per the coalition.

Details: Tuesday's housing allocation comes out of the $95 million given to the county last year as part of the Biden administration's American Rescue Plan Act. The award must be spent by the end of 2026.

  • County officials said up to 600 affordable units will be created in the area.

By the numbers: $12 million is slated for the reuse of existing buildings, like hotels.

  • $3 million for short-term loans and help covering pre-development expenses for low-income housing developers.
  • $150,000 will go to a pilot program to help coordinate and maximize efforts among multiple programs in Polk County that assist disadvantaged families.

What they're saying: Eric Burmeister, director of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund, which will administer the programs, called the allocation a one-in-a-generation opportunity.

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