Nov 17, 2023 - News

Metro governments adopt 2-in-1 housing policies

Illustration of a two-story house and a thought bubble containing a small house.

Illustration: Lindsey Bailey/Axios

At least eight metro governments now have policies in place to allow or expedite approval processes for accessory dwellings, according to a new survey conducted by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund and AARP Iowa.

Why it matters: The 2-in-1 housing expansion provides communities with additional affordable housing solutions by allowing Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs), or a small house or apartment on the same lot as a single-family residence.

  • They can also offer a flexible option for those caring for senior family members, according to the groups.

Driving the news: Des Moines and Polk County have approved ADU policies in the last two years.

  • Ankeny, Indianola, Johnston, Norwalk, Pleasant Hill and Urbandale also allow ADUs in some form, according to the survey.

Meanwhile, other communities are considering adding ADUs to their zoning or construction policies, including West Des Moines and Clive, Trust Fund spokesperson Matt Hauge tells Axios.

  • AARP is providing local governments with guides to write or improve policies to encourage ADU development.

The big picture: The number of households in the U.S. with three or more generations living under one roof is up almost 18% between 2010 and 2020, from 5.1 million to 6 million, Axios' Brianna Crane reports.

Plus, the Federal Housing Administration recently expanded financing options for homes that have ADUs.

The bottom line: It's becoming easier to live next to your mom and pops.


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