Why Is Affordable Housing Crucial to Central Iowa's Growth?

We asked Affordable Housing Week attendees, and here's what they said.

Why Is Affordable Housing Crucial to Central Iowa's Growth?

Although Polk County is known as an affordable place to live, the average cost of homes and apartments is beyond the budget of many folks who are the backbone of our thriving community. 

Representatives from central Iowa’s private and public sectors gathered the week of April 16-21 to learn more about the role affordable housing plays in the continued growth of our region. As you can see from their comments, they all agree that providing affordable housing is a must for the economic growth projected for the region. 

Lisa Sturtevant, PhD, Senior Visiting Fellow, Urban Land Institute Terwilliger Center for Housing:

"Businesses are increasingly looking at quality of life, economic diversity and cultural tolerance as they seek to locate or expand their business. Central Iowa can continue to be an attractive place for business and economic investment only if it sees housing as a key part of its economic development strategy."

Dorthy Hartley, Property Manager, Crane Artist Lofts & Hawthorn Hill Apartments:

"Housing transforms and empowers. I see firsthand the opportunities affordable housing provides to tenants, but just as important, the immeasurable value these individuals provide to our community as workers, volunteers and neighbors."

David Basler, Director of Human Resources & Assistant General Counsel, Kemin Industries:

"As a global company headquartered in Des Moines, we compete with employers from around the world for top talent. Ensuring that our region has quality housing for all income levels is a necessity for us as a company and as a corporate citizen."

Jay Byers, CEO, Greater Des Moines Partnership:

"A skilled workforce is critical to continued economic development momentum in DSM. Affordable housing is a key component to attract and retain talent and ensure businesses can find the workers to help their companies grow."

Renee Hardman, City Councilwoman, City of West Des Moines:

"Elected officials have a unique and important responsibility to understand and leverage resources that improve our communities. I believe housing — specifically housing that is affordable — is a critically important economic tool.”

Austin Rognes, Senior, Ankeny High School (Winner, 2017 Can I Be Your Neighbor Design Challenge):

"Many people looking for affordable housing know it’s a problem. Now I understand it’s a bigger issue that should be given more attention by our communities."

Mandi McReynolds, Director, Principal Financial Group Foundation and Community Relations:

"Individuals must have the opportunity to learn, earn and save. Affordable housing partnered with quality financial education programs give teachers, servers, medical workers and all our neighbors this opportunity."