The "Go To" Authority on Affordable Housing

2009-2011 Des Moines Statistics

The "Go To" Authority on Affordable Housing

Recently, the Polk County Public Works Department needed information for a grant application. Dave Williamson, Housing Services/Code Enforcement Manager in the Planning/Development Division, immediately thought of the Polk County Housing Trust Fund as the place to go for information on Housing.  Mr. Williamson asked Trust Fund staff for specific data about the City of Des Moines.  In a little over an hour later a full report was delivered via email.  The following is a segment of the data provided.

Housing Unit Characteristics

Des Moines had a total of 89,000 housing units, 8% of which were vacant. Of the total housing units, 71% were in single-unit structures, 27% were in multi-unit structures, and 2% were mobile homes. Fifteen percent of the housing units were built since 1990.

Occupied Housing Characteristics

Des Moines had 82,000 occupied housing units - 51,000 (62%) owner occupied and 31,000 (38%) renter occupied.  Seventy-four percent of the owner occupied units had a mortgage. Three percent of the households did not have telephone service.  Ten percent had no vehicles available and another 16% had three or more. The median number of rooms in all housing units was five. Of these housing units, 47% had three or more bedrooms.

Housing Costs

The median monthly housing costs for mortgaged owners was $1,173, non-mortgaged owners $439, and renters $719. Twenty-nine percent of owners with mortgages, 15% of owners without mortgages, and 53% of renters in Des Moines spent 30% or more of household income on housing.


Des Moines had a total population of 205,000 - 106,000 (52%) females and 99,000 (48%) males. The median age was 33.6 years. Twenty-five percent of the population was under 18 years and 11% was 65 years and older.

What types of (Affordable) Housing information can the PCHTF provide?

  • What does Affordable Housing mean to the Developer?
  • How to apply for a mortgage. 
  • Where can individuals go for down payment/closing cost grants?
  • Credit Reports and counseling.
  • Who to talk to with a problem with a landlord or neighbor.
  • Owner-occupied repairs
  • Median Family Income
  • Foreclosure prevention
  • additional topics…

The Polk County Housing Trust also has grant monies available for local communities, non-profit and for-profit developers in pursuit of affordable housing projects/activities. These grants are up to $10,000.00 and may include, but not limited to: comprehensive needs assessments, appraisals, market studies, surveys, site plans, legal fees abstracting, architect-engineer assistance, proformas and permit/application fees.  Go to FY2013 Housing Allocation Plan for more information and contact the Polk County Housing Trust Fund to ask about the grant application process.

Housing Statistics