Housing trust fund spurs property investment

A sign posted outside a restored home in Kalona that received down payment assistance from the ECIHTF for a student-built housing project. (Karen McCain/Union)

ECIHTF donated $157,428 to HACAP’s Old Main facility in Washington. (Karen McCain/Union)

Thanks to financial support from ECIHTF, the renovation of the old main facility is almost complete. (Karen McCain/Union)

Washington — The East Central Iowa Housing Trust Fund (ECIHTF) was launched in Washington County in 2011. Since then, it has poured a total of $1,435,140 into 171 homes in the county for development and renovation. .

Funds are accompanied by two strings. Housing initiatives need to be funded and benefit low to middle income (LMI) beneficiaries. Previous uses included emergency repairs, down payment assistance, and building renovations.

ECIHTF Washington County Board Member Mary Audia said it has spurred investment in the community.

“ECIHTF funding acts as a bridge between the dream and reality of affordable homeownership,” she said.

In doing so, the program acts as an investment not only in housing but also in the community itself.

“Having people stay home helps generate tax revenue, increase local spending, bring families to school and increase the available workforce,” she said. It makes homes affordable for people who might otherwise not have been able to afford them.”

ECIHTF Executive Director Tracey Tracey Achenbach said funding came from state, county and city donations as well as grants.

In some cases, aid can create a snowball effect, igniting other housing improvement investments in the area.

“Owners, especially if they can improve the appearance of their home, sometimes encourage people around them to do the same,” she said. increase.”

Homeowners may also need to fix key issues to improve and maintain the long-term value of their property.

“Some of the things we do are preventing it from getting worse … getting to the point where it can help,” said Achenbach. “If we can get involved and help with that, then nothing else will happen. Because it’s likely to be negative.”

Projects supported by ECIHTF come in a wide price range. The fund contributed $155,000 to the over $1 million reserve fund for the Briarwood development in Washington. On the other end of the spectrum, he’s reaching 50-50 cost share agreements at the request of landlords. Some small requests can be fully covered by HTF grants.

“It depends on the project,” says Achenbach. “They explain why they want what they want.

Achenbach said he can see the impact the fund has on the community.

“Time and again, I’ve seen projects that probably wouldn’t have moved forward if the Housing Trust Fund hadn’t been put in,” she said. “These are homes that continue to deteriorate from what happened to them.”

Comments: Kalen.McCain@southeastiowaunion.com

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