Tomorrow Begins Today
Planning work for Housing Tomorrow starts with educational event
Those of you who attended any of our Affordable Housing Week events may have noticed a theme. We talked all week about Housing Tomorrow, Greater Des Moines’ first regional plan for affordable housing. We even devoted our spring bus tour to it. Needless to say, PCHTF is excited to have an opportunity to talk about housing with all of you over the next year as part of the planning process. That process began on April 24 with our first planning session, following the Business Record’s Commercial Real Estate Trends & Issues Forum.
Housing Tomorrow is an effort to continue the great work of The Tomorrow Plan, a process that has engaged the community in a discussion about sustainability in Greater Des Moines for the past four years. The Tomorrow Plan called for the creation of a new plan that would continue the discussion, but focus in on housing issues, as part of its Resilient Neighborhoods Initiative. We expect Housing Tomorrow to be a collaborative process that will engage the community and ultimately yield a new document to guide housing policy in our region by this time next year. With the launch of The Tomorrow Plan on April 22 and our own Affordable Housing Week taking place, we couldn’t think of a better time to get started!
Before our first planning session, Debi Durham, Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority (pictured), spoke about affordable housing as a strategy for workforce development and employer retention. Dr. Jane Rongerude, Assistant Professor of Community & Regional Planning at Iowa State University, followed with a discussion of her research on affordable housing in Polk County, and how local low-income families cope with rising housing costs.
Dr. Rongerude also helped lead our first visioning session for Housing Tomorrow, asking an enthusiastic crowd to discuss why affordable housing is important to them. They also brainstormed about opportunities to create more affordable housing and talked about barriers that keep us from doing so. The most common responses indicated that a lack of planning and leadership were a barrier to affordable housing, indicating a great need for a plan like Housing Tomorrow. All in all, we heard some great ideas and we can’t wait to hear more!
To do so, we’ll be reaching out to the public over the next year to talk about their housing needs. We will also organize a committee of stakeholders that will guide the planning process as it moves forward. Watch this space and our website to learn about future opportunities to get involved! We hope to see you at one of our events later this year.
Click here to see more pictures from the event on the PCHTF Facebook page.