Local Organization Works to Address Housing Disparities in Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa– The Iowa Finance Authority has awarded more than $7 million to 27 local housing trust funds to advance housing priorities in the state.

These local housing trust funds received more than $100,000 each in grant money. This initiative is expected to help more than 2,100 Iowa families. 

Iowa Finance Authority said it understands different areas have different priorities so it encourages recipients to take a catered approach to address housing issues in their communities. 

“The funds can be used for things such as down payment assistance or to help low-income Iowans repair aging housing stock or to build new housing stock throughout the state,” Communications Director for Iowa Finance Authority, Ashley Jared, said. 

Polk County Housing Trust Fund received more than $600,000  from the Iowa Finance Authority.  

Executive Director, Eric Burmeister, said the organization will use a portion of this money to develop new building units. However, the pandemic has presented a new challenge. 

Burmeister said Polk County is seeing 50 to 100 evictions every day, with the majority as a result of Iowans not being able to pay rent. 

Since September, the Polk County Housing Trust Fund has paid close to $1 million in rental assistance. The central Iowa housing trust fund has successfully stopped 376 evictions, saving 958 individuals, including 374 children, from losing their homes. 

However, Burmesiter said it’s going to take a lot more to end the rent crisis in central Iowa. 

“Even if we used all of the $600,000 for rental assistance, it still wouldn’t begin to satisfy the need that we’re going to have out there,” Jared said. 

Iowa Finance Authority has also been running an eviction prevention program. Due to federal deadlines that program will end this Friday. 

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