The Iowa Finance Authority (IFA) has awarded of $11.2 million from the State Housing Trust Fund to local housing trust funds across Iowa, including $1,029,304 to the Polk County Housing Trust Fund (PCHTF). This is the largest amount the state fund has ever allocated to local initiatives overall and the largest allocation it has made to PCHTF specifically.
Funds from this award support "bricks and mortar" housing development, primarily new affordable rental housing development. PCHTF allocates funds locally through a competitive grant-making process, governed by our housing allocation plan and approved by our board of directors.
Remaining funds we allocate to housing development come from Polk County. For the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2022, PCHTF awarded just more than $1.9 million for housing development.
This year's State Housing Trust Fund allocation is the largest ever because the Iowa Legislature and Governor Reynolds joined to increase funding for the program in 2021.
The State Housing Trust Fund was created in 2003. According to the Iowa Finance Authority, since its inception, the State Housing Trust Fund has provided $112.2 million in affordable housing assistance to benefit more than 35,200 Iowa families, leveraging more than $175 million in other funding resources.
While PCHTF extends sincere gratitude to the Iowa Finance Authority and state leaders for this increased allocation, the need for additional housing investment remains significant. One estimate by the National Low Income Housing Coalition indicates Polk County needs an additional 11,635 units of housing that are affordable and available to extremely low income renters struggling to afford the place they live.
On December 14, Urbandale celebrated the opening of Lillis Lofts, a new mixed income property located immediately southwest of Merle Hay Mall. Now, you can get a look inside the property with a video tour from the Polk County Housing Trust Fund.
Lillis Lofts is a mixed income property, meaning some apartments have income restrictions but others do not. The property offers a mix of two- and three-bedroom floor plans with in-unit laundry, free wifi, a fitness center, playground and community room on site.
During the ribbon cutting ceremony, Urbandale Mayor Bob Andeweg celebrated a "wonderful day for the City of Urbandale," calling quality housing a "key priority" for the city.
Joe O'Hern, president of Dream Catcher, the non-profit organization involved in Lillis Lofts, hailed the benefits the property will provide for Urbandale's local workforce.
"There's a bus route close. There are employment opportunities close, and we have a range of income levels that will qualify to live here," O'Hern said. "And I fully expect that virtually all of those different income levels will be working people that can take advantage o the employment opportunities very close by."
Indianapolis-based TWG Development led the project with local nonprofit organization Dream Catcher assuming ownership after construction.
Detailed property information can be found at www.lillislofts.com.
On Sept. 21, the Iowa Economic Development Authority (IEDA) awarded $29.8 million in workforce housing tax incentives to 49 projects across Iowa. Iowa’s Workforce Housing Tax Credit encourages development and rehabilitation of housing in Iowa, especially focusing on rehabilitation of vacant or underused property.
In Polk County, 6 projects were awarded a combined $3.1 million in tax credits. Those projects will support new construction of 173 new rental housing units and rehabilitation of an additional 150 rental units.
Five are located in Des Moines, while the sixth (Junction Development Catalyst, LLC) is a project in West Des Moines. Two received the maximum credit award of $1 million.
IEDA reported it received applications for nearly triple the incentives available in this funding round. The agency says projects were “scored competitively based on readiness, financing, need and local support and participation.”
Receipt of the tax credit does not require that future residents of the property will need to meet income guidelines; however, to qualify, project costs cannot exceed $200,000 (or $250,000 for historic rehabilitation) per unit.
Polk County projects funded
Number of Units
Urban Campus Apartments LLLP
Junction Development Catalyst, LLC
3524 6th Ave. Historic Rehabilitation
Source: Iowa Economic Development Authority