Education and Outreach
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. Many meetings on various topics have taken place with city council members and city officials to prioritize housing issues for low-income families. Some movement in focus has taken place by the city towards this important objective. Plans for the use of federal Community Development Block Grant monies is now more focused on the construction of affordable housing for low-income families, for instance.
As these educational efforts continued, it became obvious that more publicity was needed to focus on this need. A Housing Conference became a focal point. AMOS has spearheading this idea and efforts. The committee they formed are in the process of organizing this major Housing Conference event for our area. It will take place on March 23, 2016, at Iowa State Center’s Scheman Building. City of Ames, ISU and County funding was secured for the conference, and the committee organizing the conference contains members from City and ISU staffs.
As a part of the educational process AMOS has conducted in the past year, Eric Burmeister, director of the Polk County Housing Trust, was invited to present on Housing Trusts. He came to Ames in November and presented to interested citizens. As discussions about topics for the Housing Conference continued, his presentation brought some focus to future efforts AMOS and other non-profits might employ to move affordable housing construction forward.
Many community partners will be needed to form a Housing Trust in our county, but with the continuing efforts of AMOS to build interest with the Housing Conference, we will find the interest and energy to get this done. The Iowa Housing Finance Authority is the regulating authority for Housing Trusts in Iowa and the application to form one will go through them. A synopsis of Eric’s presentation by Cornelia and Jan Flora, two local AMOS leaders, is here.
Current SCCHC Projects
Currently, the Board is in communication with St. Cecelia’s Catholic Church regarding a bequest which may become available for construction of a future project. We are searching for a parcel of land which can accommodate another 4-plex. This is a very exciting development and we hope to be able to move forward on building another affordable housing project soon ! Our president, Dale Vander Schaaf, and board member, Chuck Abbott, are experienced developers at this point in their non-profit careers ! We look forward to another “build” to create more affordable housing for low-income families in Ames.
Policy Strategies for Affordable Housing
In our work with AMOS, A mid-Iowa Organizing Strategy, we are discussing many strategies to create affordable housing. Other communities have used various strategies to increase affordable housing in their areas. One of these, inclusionary housing, has been a housing policy overseen by our current City of Ames Planning and Housing Director in two cities prior to his job placement in Ames.
Attached are some documents on this topic. We will try to summarize some of this information, but wanted to get it on our website !