Steve Eggleston Has the Floor

Personal patience, professional push

Steve Eggleston Has the Floor

I married for the first time last November – at age 57. You might expect I would take a position of good things come to those who wait. While that was certainly the case in my personal life, professionally serving in the Community Development and Affordable Housing industry, and with reductions in funding for these important endeavors, I am a big proponent of demanding more, planning for targeted outcomes and being intentional in what we do to improve our lives and communities. 

My wife, after months of listening to me share the daily issues, policies and efforts of my work at the Des Moines Field Office for the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), provided me this quote: “People will only do as much as you expect them to do, so we need to encourage everyone to do more than they believe they can or are able to do.”

This really resonated with me. Whether it’s encouraging a person to want more out of their life through education or training to improve their situation, or encouraging elected officials and administrators to use thoughtful processes and policies to build strong, inclusive communities, or encouraging a region such as Greater Des Moines to address the challenging issues we will face with a population that is growing and is expected to grow 35% more by 2035. Thankfully, we live in a region with people who do believe we can do more.

To that end, HUD provided a $2 million dollar Regional Planning grant to support planning around the vitality and long-term economic health of the Des Moines region through 2050. This enabled the Des Moines Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (DMAMPO), in conjunction with a large group of local organizations and officials representing area communities, to create The Tomorrow Plan – which focuses on regional cooperation as a way to provide a wide-ranging blueprint for sustainable growth. Areas of focus include the economy, the environment and providing a safe, affordable place where people want to live, work and play.

Owning the Future
I have had the opportunity to be at the table as an advisor and observer during this planning process. As valuable as the process was and as significant as the overall regional plan is, the truly exciting part is now beginning. This is the time the key initiatives and their related strategic action steps are now being “owned” by organizations and the many stakeholders needed to make positive and sustainable changes for the future.

One of the owners is the Polk County Housing Trust Fund who recently invited me to be a member of the Steering Committee for Housing Tomorrow.

A First for Housing
The group’s charge is to create our first regional housing plan that addresses the concentration of traditional affordable housing options, encourages development near nodes and along transit corridors, and promotes a diverse housing stock that will fit the needs of our changing population, growing workforce and aging neighbors who should have the opportunity to continue to live in or near the neighborhoods they have been most of their lives.

More than a Plan
The vision is for Housing Tomorrow to operate as a tool to help our region’s jurisdictions address housing challenges. It will offer policy recommendations and specific action steps to encourage the preservation and development of affordable housing options. Between now and when it is finished in 2015, there is much work to be done as the PCHTF staff provides the Steering Committee regional data, feedback from the public and offers preliminary policy recommendations.

More than a Committee
Looking around the table at the first Housing Tomorrow meeting it was clear that a broad, deep cross-section of stakeholders is being represented. For example, there are leaders from major employers, healthcare, public transportation, education, young professionals, city, county and state governments, seniors, developers, home builders, renters, minority groups and the business community – just to name a few.

As Henry Ford said, “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.” 

I’ll let you decide if I’m referencing The Tomorrow Plan (and Housing Tomorrow), or making a statement about marriage.