The Polk County Housing Trust Fund (PCHTF) has announced 2 new agreements totaling $3.1 million in allocations for affordable housing in Polk County using federal American Rescue Plan Act funds allocated to PCHTF by the Polk County Board of Supervisors.
Today’s announcement comes as community members gathered along Merle Hay Road on Des Moines’ north side to celebrate the groundbreaking of Monarch Apartments, a new permanent supportive housing community which is receiving $1.6 million in ARPA funding from PCHTF. Additionally, the Polk County Board of Supervisors allocated $1 million in ARPA funds to the project directly.
Polk County Supervisor Angela Connolly explained why the partnership to support Monarch Apartments is a win for the region. “Polk County is proud to lead the way on supporting the Monarch Apartments because it will combine critically needed housing units and evidence-based wrap around services to help homeless individuals make long term, positive changes in their lives. The ‘permanent supportive housing’ approach that Monarch uses offers a home first, and voluntary supportive services that empower residents to find their footing and reach their goals,” Supervisor Connolly said.
The 42-unit Monarch apartments will offer permanent supportive housing apartments in a converted hotel property. The property will offer rent-assisted units serving people experiencing homelessness who are referred by Centralized Intake which serves as Polk County’s entry point to homeless services.
Permanent supportive housing means that Monarch will follow housing first principles – where success for residents is measured as maintaining stable housing. Residents receive supportive services focused on harm reduction, trauma informed care, and strengths-based case management that connects them to other services and supports. Monarch Apartments will be staffed 24/7 and have two live-in peer support staff.
Ahead of today’s groundbreaking, Cynthia Latcham, president of Anawim Housing, summarized the impact Monarch Apartments will have. “Homelessness is a complex issue best solved with permanent supportive housing. For more than 25 years Anawim has been providing permanent supportive housing on a scattered site basis throughout Polk County. The Monarch Apartments will offer this critical intervention for people who have a history of homelessness by pairing housing with onsite evidence based services such as trauma informed care and motivational interviewing,” Latcham said.
Hawthorne Pointe apartments in Bondurant also to receive funds
Today, PCHTF also announced a recently completed ARPA funding agreement for Hawthorne Pointe, a new apartment community planned for Bondurant, Iowa. Developer Commonwealth Development Corporation of Middleton, Wisconsin, will receive $1.5 million to support that 40-apartment project.
Hawthorne Pointe will offer 1, 2, and 4 bedroom apartments and townhomes in Bondurant, Iowa, a rapidly growing community that has seen a large increase in nearby warehouse and logistics jobs offering wages that align well to support residents who will be able to live in this new apartment community. The property offers in-demand features like in-unit laundry and ample storage space as well as an on-site community room and playground. Apartments will be available primarily at 40% and 60% of the area median income with a few available at market rate. Occupancy is expected in mid-2024.
About this funding program
Funds PCHTF is allocating to this project come from Polk County’s landmark $15+ million allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funds announced in April 2022, which includes $12 million for housing development. This agreement brings the total allocated through this fund to $10.4 million committed to support 319 units of affordable housing at or below 60% of the area median income within properties that offer a total of 416 housing units.
Funds in this program are awarded through a competitive application process in which applications are reviewed by the Polk County Housing Trust Fund’s development committee and approved by its board of directors. PCHTF held a first round of applications in July of 2022, a second round of applications in September, and a third round of applications in February.
Investments from this fund are available to support rental housing affordable to people earning under 60% of the area median income, currently $63,350 for a family of four. The Trust Fund is placing additional prioritization on serving extremely low-income households earning at or under 30% of area median income, or $31,300 for a family of four. These income guidelines vary by number of people in the household and are updated annually by the federal government. (The 2023 annual update was released in May.)