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Comments from the Federal Home Loan Bank Round Table on Affordable Housing Issues in Des Moines

In early March, our executive director Pam Carmichael  participated in the Federal Home Loan Bank of Des Moines' roundtable on affordable housing in Des Moines. These were her opening comments.

HOME, Inc. is a non-profit housing counseling and development provider, serving the community since 1967.  We provide rental and homeownership counseling and education to approximately 3,000 households annually and develop affordable housing for low income household. We are a HUD certified Housing Counseling Agency and a certified Community Housing Development Organization. 

Des Moines has been on several “best lists." If you visit our beautiful downtown you can really see what a great place it is.  However, if you travel or mile north or east of downtown you get a different picture.

De Moines has an aging housing stock with declining value. While 46% of the Polk County population lives in Des Moines, we are home to 73% of the county’s low income population.  

Tools to address these issues include Home Investment Partnership Program.  Home funds have been cut by more than 50% in the city and by 46% at the state level.  We used to have $1.4 million for the development and improvement of affordable housing.  Today we have about $700,000.  The state funding has been reduced from about $11 million to $5 million.   We use those funds to infill construction or rehabilitation of affordable housing. 

Building affordable housing is just on piece of the puzzle.  We also have to provide housing counseling, education and support to first time, low income homebuyers.  Most of our families are households with children earning between $30 and $60,000.  As the economy continues to grow and housing markets recover, there has been a significant increase in clients nationally who are seeking pre-purchase counseling. In FY 2017, the number of households seeking pre-purchase counseling increased 35 percent over the FY 2016 number. From July 1 to December 31, 2017 HOME, Inc. provide pre-purchase homebuyer education to 132 households.

Affordable Homes for Sale

HOME, Inc. currently has three homes available for sale for qualified homebuyers. Click here to learn more about the properties for sale.

“These homes are part of our ongoing development projects in and around the Birdland and Capitol View neighborhoods,” said Pam Carmichael, executive director of HOME, Inc. “Each home is move-in ready for a family who has completed our readiness assessment and secures financing.”

These three units are part of six units we have developed in the Birdland neighborhood.  In the next two years, we plan to build four more homes ad 13 townhomes.

“This is a neighborhood that was ripe for development. In the 1990s, there were more than 120 homes that were lost to flooding, but the city has come in and fixed those problems. This is why you are seeing a resurgence in the development of affordable housing in this neighborhood,” Carmichael said.

To apply for a HOME, Inc. property, clients must complete and return a homeownership readiness questionnaire and participate in a homeownership readiness assessment with the Homeownership Coordinator. In determining a client’s readiness to buy, an Action Plan is developed with steps to meeting conventional underwriting criteria. All loans are conventional fixed rate mortgages and include HOME, Inc.’s grant assistance.

All clients applying for HOME, Inc. properties must have an annual gross income between 50% and 75% of Area Median Income. The minimum income to be considered is $28,000.

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