Fall 2012 Bus Tour

Bethany Wilcoxon Shares Insights

Fall 2012 Bus Tour

Often times, many people go about their daily lives with little to no thought of affordable housing in our region. Thanks to the Polk County Housing Trust Fund’s Fall 2012 Bus Tour, over forty community leaders were reminded of the very serious issues regarding affordable housing in the Urban Core. For example, did you know that there is a waiting list of 834 for public housing? Or that nearly 4,400 households are on the waiting list for Section 8 housing?

Fortunately, there are numerous groups working, often in collaboration with the PCHTF, to provide affordable housing in some of the oldest and most diverse neighborhoods in Des Moines. These groups include Habitat for Humanity, which recently held a Rock the Block event in the Martin Luther King, Jr., Park neighborhood; Hawthorn Hill, which offers The Home Connection program for homeless; HOME, Inc., which constructed 10 single-family homes for $1.5 million as part of the East Walnut Street Residential Re-development project; Anawim Housing, which has helped stabilize the River Bend neighborhood through its investments along the 6th Avenue Corridor; and, Oakridge Neighborhood Services, which supports disadvantaged, low-income, and immigrants seeking a better life.

While the Bus Tour highlighted some great successes in the Urban Core, it also reminded participants of the vast amount of work yet to be completed.  Some neighborhoods are isolated, at times making access to other services and opportunities difficult. Some affordable housing providers have wait lists of 200 people. At the same time the aforementioned groups are providing assistance to those in need, we need continued “coordination and cooperation for a higher impact.”

Bethany Wilcoxon is a Senior Transportation Planner with the Des Moines Area MPO

For a photo album of the Fall Bus Tour click HERE.

For an electonic copy of the tour Itinerary click HERE.