Affordable Housing Week

The Polk County Housing Trust Fund with friends and collaborators from across the region thought REALLY big about creating housing opportunities in our community during this year's Affordable Housing Week in April.

Thanks to the community's support, this ended up being one of the most exciting weeks we can remember. These are just some of the people who helped make it possible!

Some of the most memorable moments: The Polk County Supervisors announced more than $15 million in new housing investments. Wells Fargo announced it is helping Iowa Legal Aid continue its important eviction diversion work.

The Can I Be Your Neighbor Student Design Challenge reached students in the West Des Moines Community Schools, Des Moines Public Schools, and Ankeny Community School District. Students created designs for Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) a great way to add new housing in established neighborhoods that supports multi-generational living, and more!

Landlord Forum featured a special focus on mental health crisis intervention as well as information about how to serve residents who have unique housing challenges.

At the Affordable Housing Week Symposium, our keynote speaker, Shane Phillips, challenged us to work together to develop a robust, interconnected housing policy. Shane then traveled to Iowa State University's College of Design to deliver an additional talk about Accessory Housing Units to students there.

NEW PODCAST: If you missed this year's symposium, you can hear it on our new podcast.

Dozens of people and organizations made all this possible - and we thank you! Read on to discover more information, resources, and inspiration from the week!

Polk County makes historic investment in housing opportunity

~$15 million investment of ARPA funds focuses on our area's most pressing needs

Polk County Board of Supervisors on April 5 voted unanimously on a $15,150,000 investment in affordable housing projects. The funding is part of the $95 Million dollars awarded to Polk County from the U.S. American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) passed by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, 2021. The County will enter into an agreement with the Polk County Housing Trust Fund to administer distribution of these resources.

Affordable Housing Week Symposium

A chance to dig deep on housing policy focused on supply, stability, and subsidy

This year's symposium envisioned Greater Des Moines as an inclusive, affordable region with housing choices for every person and family. But what are the actions it'll take to get there? Keynote speaker Shane Phillips, author of The Affordable City, shared a policy roadmap focused on delivering both affordability and housing stability. Collaboration is the key to our success, so we lifted up leaders from across the community working in various ways to make Greater Des Moines the best affordable city it can be, for everybody.

Symposium featured a special announcement of a $650,000 grant from Wells Fargo to Iowa Legal Aid that will help continue ILA's eviction diversion work around the state.

Affordable Housing Week Symposium is sponsored by Capital Crossroads and OpportUNITY, a program of United Way of Central Iowa.

Can I Be Your Neighbor Student Design Challenge Finals

Griffin Gade of Ankeny High School earns top prize

The Can I Be Your Neighbor Design Challenge is an annual opportunity for local high school students to design a solution to an affordable housing challenge. This year's challenge was designing an Accessory Housing Unit similar to one being built by HOME, Inc., in the Oak Park neighborhood of Des Moines. During the final round of competition, five students from around the metro had their designs evaluated by a panel of judges with the chance to receive a scholarship.

The Can I Be Your Neighbor Student Design Challenge is made possible by ASK Studio, an architectural firm in Des Moines with the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines and HOME, Inc.

Landlord Forum: Connected to Thrive

This year featured a special focus on mental health crisis intervention

Landlords, property owners, and property management professionals are essential to meeting housing needs in our community. Each year, Landlord Forum highlights resources, leaders, and ideas to help make sure every resident relationship is successful.

Special feature: This year's event included a special focus on mental health crisis intervention and the latest update on services available in the community to support people experiencing distress.

Look below for a program from the event as well as resources speakers shared with attendees.

Accessory Dwelling Units: A West Coast Comparative Perspective

An exciting housing option that's catching on!

Los Angeles-based urban planner and policy expert Shane Phillips spoke about the increased use of accessory dwelling units in California and their potential in Iowa as part of the Homelessness and Affordable Housing Symposium at Iowa State University.

This presentation is made possible with the support of Iowa State University's College of Design and the Gordon Family Endowment.