Heart of Iowa Trust gets $217K to improve housing in Webster, Hamilton counties
Program helps low- and moderate-income families improve homes
A new regional entity aimed at improving owner-occupied housing just got its expected boost from the state.
The Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund was awarded $217,108 in grants last week by the Iowa Finance Authority Board, to improve housing in Webster and Hamilton counties.
That’s the amount Vickie Reeck, community and economic development director for Fort Dodge, previously said the region would expect to receive based on population and the amount the board had available.
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“We’re excited because this is the first program we’ve had for a little while to help the low- to moderate-income families,” said Paige Wheeler, Fort Dodge neighborhood wellness coordinator. “We’re just hoping to not only sustain, but improve the housing stock in Fort Dodge, and in Hamilton and Webster county.”
This year the program is for anyone in Webster or Hamilton county that owns their own single-family home, that is making 80 percent of the area median income.
“Folks can apply for different activities they need,” Reeck said. “Plumbing, electrical, maybe they need a new roof.”
“Maybe they need an emergency furnace replacement, or a new water heater,” Wheeler said. “It could be something small or something quite large.”
There’s a cap of $10,000 that will be given for a family, Reeck said. The money is given in the form of a five-year, interest-free forgivable loan. As long as they live there for five years, the loan will be forgiven.
Priority will be given to households with income at or below 30 percent of area median income; people with disabilities, those age 62 or older, and projects that are deemed emergencies.
The Fort Dodge is working on putting specific information online.
“We’re creating a website. We’re creating a lot of things right now,” Wheeler said, “because we need to have qualified contractors for citizens to contact for their bids. There’s a lot of things that have to be done.
“We already have a waiting list established on this. So, it’s not a secret but we’d like a lot more people to know about it.”
With local matches, the Trust Fund has about $271,000 in funding this year, Reeck said. That means it will be able to help 20 to 25 households.
This is the first year the Heart of Iowa fund existed.
Last year Webster and Hamilton were two of only six counties in Iowa that weren’t part of a local housing trust fund. Establishing such a fund, with a board of directors and a 501(c)3 designation, is a necessary step before an area can apply for these funds from the state.
To get the $217,108 from the state, local entities had to provide a 25 percent match, Reeck said. This included $10,000 from Webster County, $38,000 from Fort Dodge, $6,497.40 from Webster City, and $6,242.60 from Hamilton County.
Seven area banks also contributed:
• First State Bank in Webster and Hamilton counties;
• Availa Bank in Webster and Hamilton counties;
• Webster City Financial Bank;
• Great Western Bank;
• Northwest Bank;
• United Bank of Iowa;
• First American Bank.
Heart of Iowa Regional Trust Fund criteria
Owner occupied rehabilitation — eligible activities:
• Any building, plumbing, electrical or mechanical code deficiencies;
• Any lead hazard reduction activities;
• Any activity to improve energy efficiency;
• Any activity to make a property accessible for persons with disabilities.
• Must be owner-occupied single-family homes;
• Must be located within the boundaries of Webster or Hamilton counties;
• Property as a whole must be in habitable condition, as determined by an initial inspection;
• Mobile homes are not eligible.
Terms of loan:
• Five-year forgivable loan, 20 percent forgiven each year;
• Zero percent interest;
• Up to $10,000 per household.
Income limits published annually by HUD — 80 percent of Area Median Income.
• Households with income at or below 30 percent AMI;
• Persons with disabilities;
• Persons age 62 or older;
• Projects deemed an emergency by the board of directors.
For more information, contact Vickie Reeck or Paige Wheeler: