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Housing trust fund supports local homeowners

Webster County supervisors OK $10,000 for program

By BILL SHEA

bshea@messengernews.net

A new organization dedicated to helping low income people in Webster and Hamilton counties stay in their houses has been busy, aiding at least 24 homeowners with everything from roofs to water heaters.

The Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund was established in late 2018. Its initial funding included $217,108 from the state, plus matching funds from local governments and area banks.

That money has been put to work this year, according to Vickie Reeck, the community and economic development manager for Fort Dodge. She told the Webster County Board of Supervisors Tuesday that the money was spent on 11 new roofs, eight home energy efficiency upgrades, five handicapped accessibility projects, three new water heaters and one retaining wall.

”We’ve got a huge waiting list for next year,” she said.

The trust fund is applying for $201,000 from the state for next year and needs matching funds to support that application. Reeck said Wells Fargo Bank has committed $5,000 and First State Bank has committed $3,000.

She asked the Board of Supervisors for $10,000.

The board approved that request unanimously without discussion.

The Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund is for any resident in Hamilton and Webster counties who owns a single family home and is making up to 80% of the area median income. However, priority will be given to households with income at or below 30% of area median income, those with disabilities and those who are 62 or older.

Homeowners can get a maximum of $10,000 through the program.

That money isn’t exactly a handout, however. The money comes to homeowners as five-year interest free forgivable loans. People who stay for at least five years in the home where the money was invested will have the loan forgiven.