Legislative Housing Policy

This webpage is specially designed and updated for use during the 2014 Iowa legislative session.  It provides information germane to issues concerning the funding and management of the State Housing Trust Fund and to Local Housing Trust Funds in Iowa, especially the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.  It is our hope the information will be helpful in understanding the important role Local Housing Trust Funds play in enhancing local economic development and improving excellence Iowa's schools.

The Basics

What are Local Housing Trust Funds and How are They Funded

There are 26 Local Housing Trust Funds in Iowa that cover a majority of the state.  These LHTFs are certified by the Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) to receive an allocation of State Housing Trust Fund Dollars  for the creation and retention of affordable housing inventory within their jurisdiction.  State restrictions mandate that in order to be certified and to receive funds, the LHTFs must meet minimum operating and reporting standards and have at least 25 dollars of local matching funds for each 100 dollars of state allocation.

Recent Projects

How are Iowa Tax Dollars Invested?

Local Housing Trust Funds are managed by a Board of local leaders knowledgeable about affordable housing needs and issues.  This is an advantage to local communities whose leaders are best able to identify projects that address local needs.  LHTFs allow local control of state tax dollars.

Measuring Success

What Have Our Dollars Accomplished?

Local Housing Trust Funds measure success in two ways.  The first is leverage ratio.  That ratio is calculated as the number of outside dollars contributed to a project compared to a single dollar of Trust Fund Money.  The second measurement of success is the total number of affordable housing units created or preserved.

A Good Investment

What is the Impact?

Affordable Housing is good for the State of Iowa.  It is good for Economic Development.  In addition to providing jobs for Iowans who work in the construction and remodeling trades, it provides safe and stable housing for an important part of Iowa’s workforce.  Providing suitable, affordable housing allows our workforce to remain in Iowa and increases productivity, both characteristics employers seek.

Stable housing enhances the effectiveness of our K-12 education system.  Students who are suitably housed do demonstrably better in school.  Research shows that three unplanned moves during a school year is enough to wipe out a student’s progress for that entire grade level.

The Polk County Housing Trust Fund

Affordable Housing in Polk County, Iowa

The Polk County Housing Trust Fund (PCHTF) addresses issues surrounding the basic need of access to safe and affordable housing.  Established in 1995 the Trust Fund is a 501c(3) organization serving very low to moderate-income families in Polk County who seek sustainable and affordable housing.  Since its inception the PCHTF has funded over 9,600 housing units. Of those, 1,314 were new construction and 8,286 were rehabilitated homes and apartments in the Greater Des Moines area.