Story County Community Housing Corporation (SCCHC) – A Community Land Trust – is a county-wide, community-based, non-profit corporation working to create and maintain affordable rental and family-owned housing. If you would like more information about the SCCHC, or if you would like to learn how you can support our work, please call (515) 292-3676. Ideas are also offered here and throughout our website. Please feel welcome to attend our 2017 Annual Membership Meeting, Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. in Room 202, Collegiate United Methodist Annex on Sheldon…just south of Dunkin donuts !
Board members have been working with AMOS, A mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy, to educate and thus increase the visibility of affordable housing needs for low-income families in Ames and Story County. A Housing Conference took place on March 23, 2016 in the Iowa State Center’s Scheman Building to focus on one vehicle to coordinate services and build more affordable housing units — a Housing Trust Fund.
Work to form a Housing Trust Fund in Story County is underway. This program administered by the Iowa Finance Authority could bring $200,000 each year to Ames and Story County to help in efforts to create low-income and affordable housing. The task force working on this includes: Dan Culhane, the Chamber of Commerce president, Warren Madden, ISU’s Chief Executive Officer, Amber Corrieri, Ames City Council, Dale Vander Schaaf, from the SCCHC, and Jason Paull, a member of the Emergency Residence Project Board of Directors.
At our 2016 Annual Membership meeting, we discussed the city’s proposal to purchase a site on State Avenue with CDBG funds. They have done this and a Request for Proposal has been issued by them. The specifications in the proposal require that 60% of the units built be affordable to those at 60 to 80% of median income in the area. This will allow families who have incomes from approximately $30,000 to $70,000 annual income, depending on the number in the family, to live in the development. About 60 single family homes may be built on this property.
Plans to develop the parcel on Sixth Street across from the Ames Police Department have been put on hold by the city. The only proposal the city received was submitted by the SCCHC and John Lott and Natalie Carran of Benjamin Design Collaborative. Thanks to them for their enormous generosity in drafting the proposal. Information about it can be found on the 2015 Project page.
Unfortunately, the city turned down the proposal. The City indicated at the time that they would re-issue the Call for Proposals. Their intent was to bundle the parcel on 6th Street with a portion of the Breckenridge parcel on State Avenue to attract larger developers. This did not come about and so this property will remain undeveloped at this time.
Your participation in the call for more affordable housing has been heard by city officials but we need to stay engaged as decisions on the Middle School parcel and housing issues, generally, continue to be debated. Thank you for your support which makes it possible for us to provide housing for low-income families. Your support matters! Thank you! We look forward to continuing the focus on this critical issue so city officials are encouraged to continue to move forward on it. Please feel free to join us at our 2017 Annual Membership Meeting, Monday, May 22 at 7 p.m. in Room 202, Collegiate United Methodist Annex on Sheldon, just south of Dunkin Donuts.
Why work for affordable housing?
In reviewing City reports on affordable housing needs in Ames, outcomes for low-income families continue to be dismal. Nearly 50% of the households in Ames pay about 50% of their incomes for their housing. This housing burden causes families to live with the constant stress of making ends meet to cover rent and living expenses. Families need help when any extra, but normal, expense occurs. The cost of a car repair or dental appointment can be a major expense which they cannot afford.
When a family doesn’t have enough to cover such expenses, emergency help through churches and the Emergency Residence Project can help keep these families from losing their housing, but a more permanent solution is needed. That is why the SCCHC continues to work to create affordable housing.
In 1992, a housing needs assessment identified the need for 2,000 units of affordable housing. Habitat and SCCHC have built homes or apartments for about 50 families since that time. The city did respond to the calls of many in our community to direct Community Development Block Grant funds to the construction of affordable housing. We are closer to this reality, but not there yet. Your voice is needed to help the city create policies and take actions that will dramatically increase affordable housing units for our low-income, working families in Ames and Story County.
As a community-based organization, we want and need your support and input. Our SCCHC meetings take place at 6:30 p.m. on the third Wednesday of each month in the Collegiate United Methodist Annex, Room 202 at 130 S. Sheldon, Ames. Please feel free to attend.
If you’d like to become a member, there is a form located here. Thank you for supporting community-based, affordable housing initiatives in Ames and Story County.