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.

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