The City of Waukee has taken action to advance housing opportunity by approving a Request for Proposals (RFP) to turn over 13.6 acres of city-owned land for development as a housing tax credit community. The property is located in Waukee's Prairie Rose subdivision - a location less than a mile east of Northwest High School. When developed, this housing will help address a shortage of workforce housing in Waukee.
In an interview with the Des Moines Business Record, Waukee mayor Courtney Clarke said, "Land prices are not getting any cheaper and development costs are not going down," she said. "New homes in Waukee are not being built for under certain levels. … There are people who work in Waukee that cannot live in Waukee – Waukee teachers, people in our fire department, people who work in our grocery stores."
Indeed, a review of National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) data shows that the hourly wage needed to afford a 2 bedroom apartment in the 50263 Waukee zip code is $21.54/hour, creating difficulty for hourly wage workers looking to live near jobs there. The job market in Waukee is quite strong, with NLIHC's latest estimate of unemployment in the community at just 2.3%. As a result, Waukee officials have acknowledged a lack of workers has prompted some businesses in the community to delay opening.
The RFP released by Waukee aligns with the City's goal to "create, expand, and maintain affordable hosuing for low- and moderate-income families and senior citizens." Issued this month, the RFP calls for, among other things, housing that meets the criteria for federal housing tax credits and can be built on land currently zoned R-4 for rowhouses and townhomes with a maximum density of 12 units/acre. In exchange, the developer selected will qualify incentives from the city including receiving the land at low or no cost.
The deadline to apply for Waukee's RFP is August 29, 2022.
Here We Grow now provides an interactive map highlighting local data from around the metro. Using the map, you can view several data layers that offer insights looking at the whole region, or your own neighborhood.
Here's some of what you can find.
Development Nodes: These views help us recognize areas in the community that are important cultural and commercial centers that are suited for a variety of housing and business development.
Tomorrow Plan Nodes: The Tomorrow Plan defined “nodes” as the “economic and cultural focal points of a region” that are economically important and “should include a wider range of housing types than are typically available in conventional residential areas.” The plan identified nodes that function on a neighborhood, community, and regional level, as well as downtown.
PlanDSM Nodes: These areas are recognized by the City of Des Moines comprehensive plan, PlanDSM, as places where Des Moines can create “increased housing and transportation choices, reduced infrastructure and maintenance expenditures, and the creation of vibrant places to serve neighborhoods and the city as a whole.” They are also identified on the neighborhood, community and regional level.
Work and home areas by income: We provide four views showing where our area's low income and hourly workforces live and work. These views are based on LEHD Origin-Destination Employment Statistics from the US Census Bureau. The maps give you a chance to visualize where people live and work in your community, in this case using two income ranges:
Earning $1,250 or less each month equates to incomes up to $15,000 annually.
Earning $1,251 to $3,333 monthly equates to incomes of $15,000 to $40,000 annually.
DART Transit Routes: Transit is an important way for workers to navigate between homes and jobs; bus routes tend to operate on some of the regions’ most important commercial corridors. DART’s fixed bus routes are shown, current as of June 2021.
Median year housing built: Uses data from the 5-Year 2019 American Community Survey to show the median year housing structures were built, summarized by decade. This view provides some insight into the region’s historic development patterns.
Mapping social and economic opportunity: These two views provide a related sense of where economic and social opportunity are located in our region. They use different underlying methodologies, but interestingly they tell a consistent story about where opportunity is located in our region. Here We Grow’s equity priority encourages us to take action so that families are not sorted into high and low opportunity areas merely based on their income.
Des Moines MPO Environmental Justice Areas (2020): The Des Moines Area MPO publishes environmental justice maps. MPO analyses 7 “degrees of disadvantage” that may apply to a given area; areas with multiple degrees of disadvantage may be said to require special attention to ensure environmental justice and equity goals are upheld.
Iowa Finance Authority Opportunity Areas: The Iowa Finance Authority identifies these areas using a US Department of Housing and Urban Development methodology. Areas identified score highly on a variety of factors measuring economic and social opportunity, including poverty measures, labor market engagement, job access, mobility, school proficiency, and community health.
Housing wage by zip code: This measure is created by the National Low Income Housing Coalition as part of its annual Out of Reach assessment of the hourly wage a person needs to earn to afford a modest two bedroom apartment. In this map, areas of higher housing cost are highlighted in red, and users can select a zip code to view a variety of data, including the wage a person would need to earn, labeled as the “housing wage”, to afford a one or two bedroom apartment in that zip code.
Finally, our interactive map also allows users to display municipal boundaries as well as the outline of the planning area used to create the Tomorrow Plan.