Small housing changes add up to big opportunity

Updated: Oct 31

We can improve housing opportunities in your neighborhood, and you might not ever even know it.


Des Moines recently legalized the Accessory Dwelling Unit in far more places, and our colleagues at HOME, Inc. are about to put their first one on the market. ADUs are just a small home that shares a lot with a larger single family home.

Shows a small blue house surrounded by some construction material.
The ADU being built by HOME Inc is almost finished.

HOME Inc’s ADU in Oak Park is nearing completion and brings many advantages:

  • ADUs allow new housing in existing neighborhoods you may not even notice.

  • They take advantage of existing community infrastructure.

  • They can be an affordable option, because the land they sit on is already paid for.

Des Moines recently dramatically expanded the portion of the city where ADUs can be built. That’s a good example of how changes to zoning law are essential to housing progress in our communities.


Unfortunately, zoning regulations often block housing solutions that would benefit communities by banning certain types of housing or driving up costs. Some communities recognize this and are taking action to change their practices.


Look back: At our housing symposium in April, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity leader Lance Henning told the audience that for every $1000 increase in the price of home, hundreds of local families lose the opportunity to buy.


Ideas like accessory dwelling units, missing middle housing, and more are a way to push back against that worrisome trend.


We’re closely watching the construction of HOME Inc’s ADU and look forward to sharing a tour when it’s completed. For now check out our latest video tour below and sign up to see the next update.