Dec 9, 2022 - News

Des Moines could launch an 'affordable forever' home network

Illustration of a home plate with a little chimney

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Des Moines city government is evaluating whether to help create a Community Land Trust (CLT), Neighborhood Services director Chris Johansen tells Axios.

Why it matters: It would launch an "affordable forever" home network that advocates contend can help poor families overcome ownership barriers.

  • Des Moines metro governments allocate millions of dollars each year on low-income housing initiatives that frequently lose affordability when ownership changes hands.
  • A CLT could help sustain investments, Johansen said.

How it works: Homes would be owner occupied but the land they sit on would be held by the trust.

  • Low-income families would purchase the homes at a discount but could only resell them at a restricted price to other low-income buyers.

State of play: Representatives from nonprofit groups, 10 metro cities and two Polk County Supervisors participated last month in a CLT conference organized by A Mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy (AMOS) — a network of metro churches and community groups.

  • One attendee offered land for the first CLT in the county, AMOS said in a statement.

What's next: Research and discussion among city staff continues.

  • A presentation to the city council is likely in coming months, Johansen said.

Of note: There are already more than 200 CLTs in the U.S., according to Grounded Solutions Network.

  • The California-based group advocates for affordable housing and participated in the Des Moines conference last month.

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