Blog Archive

Get updates by email »

Affordable Housing Is a Front Page Issue

On Tuesday, June 20, the Des Moines Register ran a story ("Apartment sale could push low-income renters out of Des Moines' East Village") that brings the affordable housing challenge to the front page. For that, we are grateful.  But we wanted to take a moment and expand on Section 8 vouchers and the continuing challenges facing Greater Des Moines.

The potential sale of the River Hills Apartments has been rumored for some time, which encouraged speculation that the new owner would not accept the Section 8 vouchers. For affordable housing advocates, this is concerning because of the significant number of affordable units that have come off the market in the past five years – the Randolph, Eddy and others. If the new owners of the River Hill Apartments decide to not accept vouchers or significantly change the rents, the current residents have few options.

Created to provide housing opportunities based on “fair market” rates, the government voucher program is significantly oversubscribed. Even in our community, there is a long waiting list and new applications aren’t even being accepted. Vouchers are used simply because low-income families cannot find affordable housing without them. 

One of the often-repeated comments when we receive when we talk about affordable rental units in Greater Des Moines is the boom of multi-family units being built. Yes, there are apartment buildings being built and renovated all across the metro, but they aren’t for those making minimum wage or less. For example, the story does a great job of demonstrating how the growth and success of East Village is great on one hand, but creating issues on another.  It is great to see a neighborhood thrive, but it is at the cost of the low-income units.  Developers are “for profit” so they will charge the rents they can – it’s good business sense. 

Plus, the rental market has tightened up in the last decade.  There are fewer areas that provide fair market rents, and landlords are becoming more stringent in their rental critera. This makes more difficult for struggling families to find stable housing.  
So where are the low-income families and individuals and families supposed to live?

That’s the question we are asking. It’s time for our elected officials, metro leaders businesses and area funders to work with housing advocates to find answers.  As federal and state housing funds decrease but demand increases as Des Moines continues to grow, this is a challenge that is rapidly becoming a crisis. 

Income guidelines for Homeownership Readiness Assessment Updated

We recently updated the income guidelines on our for our Homeownership Readiness Assessment. Household income for our program needs to be between 50% and 75% of the area median income. Household income includes all adults residing in the unit. 

Family Size   50% (minimum) 75% (maximum)
 1  $28,800  $43,155
 2   $32,900  $49,320
 3   $37,000  $55,485
 4  $41,100  $61,650
 5  $44,400  $66,582
 6  $47,700  $71,514

Homeownership Readiness Assessment is individualized assistance to explore the purchase of a home and includes:

  • Reviewing basic information about your current financial situation 
  • Obtaining and reviewing your current credit report from three reporting bureaus 
  • Determining your ability to qualify for a mortgage at this point in time 
  • Establishing a housing affordability range for a home purchase price or mortgage limit 
  • Identifying programs that may assist you in purchasing a home 
  • Developing a home buying plan outlining steps you can take to qualify for a mortgage
For more information about the Homeownership Readiness Assessment, contact us at 515.243.1277.

2106 annual report released

Learn more about our success during the past year. We remain focused on quality, affordable housing to provide the foundation that allows families to increase income, improve health and enable children to achieve their educational goals.

Learn more about HOME, Inc. in our recently released annual report.

How two Des Moines neighborhoods changed for the better

The Des Moines Register highlighted the turnaround of two Des Moines neighborhoods. They noted: 

“Housing experts say there are lessons for all of us from the sweat and working together that has taken place over almost 30 years in Sherman Hill and Woodland Heights:

  • Change begins with active neighbors.
  • City leaders with vision provide the momentum.
  • The transformation requires big investment that doesn’t pay for years.
  • Private businesses and newcomers pick up the baton and help the neighborhood thrive.

‘If you don’t have the people who live in a neighborhood invested, there’s not going to be a plan,’ said Pam Carmichael, executive director of the affordable housing nonprofit Home Inc., which has been a key player in changing several Des Moines neighborhoods. ‘Neighbors are the force. You need to have them at city hall. They need to have the ear of politicians and speak with one voice.’ ”

To read the rest of the story, read From dodgy to desirable: How 2 historic Des Moines neighborhoods turned it around.