Homeownership. A goal to which many aspire, but often cannot attain. That’s why Greater Iowa City Area HBA members AM Management and Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity (IVHFH) are partnering to provide 10 homes for IVHFH families on Indigo Court in Southeast Iowa City. Five will be in place this year, and another five in 2022 with a November completion date. Another Iowa City Area HBA member, the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, provided down-payment funding assistance for the homes.
The ranch-style houses will reside in the Sycamore Woods neighborhood, a development of AM Management, Inc., and within HBA-member The City of Iowa City’s South District Program area aimed at creating affordable homeownership opportunities. Building is being done through Homes for Iowa, Inc., via an agreement with Iowa Prison Industries.
“We have worked with Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity on past projects and recognize their excellent work. With Covid restricting their ability to organize community builds we felt this was a great opportunity to work together, along with Homes for Iowa and the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County, to provide homes more rapidly to their partner families,” said Steve Gordon with AM Management, Inc. “We were excited about seeing the first family move into their home last month and more families doing the same throughout next year.”
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, Homes for Iowa exists to address Iowa’s housing shortage while simultaneously training prisoners in the skilled trades. Newton Correctional Facility inmates will construct the three-bedroom, two-bath homes, gaining valuable training to pursue a building career post release. Such experience provides much-needed employees for construction industry contractors – where the worker shortfall is 344,000 – while supporting re-entry and reducing recidivism for offenders.
Once ready, Homes for Iowa delivers houses to their new locations. “We had been relying on local home movers, but recently acquired a trailer for the program,” said HBA of Iowa Executive Officer Jay Iverson, Homes for Iowa’s vice president and an Iowa City Area HBA member. The program was also just awarded $10 million by the State of Iowa.” IVHFH volunteers then finish the placed homes and ready them for the families they serve.
“We see that affordable homeownership can be transformational. We know that it prevents children from hopping from classroom to classroom, strengthens neighborhoods as more people become truly invested in the well-being of the people living next door and empowers people to develop a sense of ownership and belonging in their community,” said IVHFH Associate Executive Director Scott Hawes. “We’re fortunate there is a network of great partners who are just as interested in seeing these outcomes as we are.”