E.J. Giovannetti Has the Floor

PCHTF Board Members talk about Affordable Housing

E.J. Giovannetti Has the Floor

A healthy dose of skepticism led me to serve on the Polk County Housing Trust Fund board and an equal dose of understanding around the impact of affordable housing has kept me engaged.

There were several things I took notice of in 2003 as a new Polk County Supervisor, with one being the money we were putting toward affordable housing. At the risk of sounding like a curmudgeon, I wasn’t sure we should be in that business. It was a most worthy issue, but I had a view that different levels of government had different responsibilities.The county’s role is to provide services and the city and federal government’s roles is to handle bricks and mortar – affordable housing.  I started asking questions and learning more about the needs, investments and outcomes related to this issue.

Questioning how and why things are done and believing everything is better served with good information is likely a product of how I was raised.  I grew up the oldest of four boys in a rural part of California and was the son of a father whose business was deeply rooted in agriculture.  I learned early on the value of hard work, the impact a person can have and keeping one eye on the work at hand and the other, on using information to improve the way it was done. (It took my father years to forgive me for leaving to pursue a law degree and not staying in the family ag business with my brothers. However, the path I chose led me to the Des Moines community.)

A couple of years into my role as a Polk County Supervisor there was an opportunity to be a Polk County Housing Trust Fund board member.  Two things came to mind – if Polk County is going to invest significant funds in this organization then I want to be at the table asking the right questions and making sure things are being done properly.  And the second, a belief that affordable housing is a make or break issue for having a strong workforce, stable families, and children who are in school focused on learning and being provided every opportunity to succeed.

I hope you will take a few minutes to visit the PCHTF web site and learn more about the work being done to provide safe, stable and affordable housing and join me in asking questions and providing support that further advances the good work underway.