Heart of Iowa helps homeowners
Trust fund provides money for needed repairs
As any homeowner knows, it doesn’t take long for the cost of maintenance and repairs to pile up.
And if the roof starts leaking or the furnace conks out, a homeowner is immediately looking at thousands of dollars in bills. For some, especially the elderly and disabled, paying for the needed repairs just isn’t possible.
But since 2019, people in that position have had a new source of potential help — the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund.
Since its establishment, the housing trust fund has invested $1,104,170 in homes in Webster and Hamilton counties.
That total includes $905,378 from the state government, with the rest coming from local matching funds.
”This is a great project,” said Fort Dodge City Councilman Kim Alstott.
The trust fund uses money from government and private sources to provide financial help to people who own a single family home and make up to 80 percent of the area median income. Priority is given to those whose income is at or below 30 percent of the area median income, those with disabilities and those who are 62 or older.
The assistance isn’t exactly a handout, however. The money comes in the form of loans to the homeowners. They are five-year interest free loans that will be forgiven for those who stay for at least five years in the home where the money was invested.
Since 2019, the trust fund has provided the money to do 22 projects in Webster County, with all but four of them in Fort Dodge.
Another 15 projects have been paid for in Hamilton County.
Each project can consist of one or more repairs,. For example, a project can consist of a new roof and a new front door on a house.
Roofing and gutter work accounts for much of the projects. In Webster County, the trust has paid for 12 roofing and gutter jobs.
Other repairs funded by the trust include:
• Eight window replacement projects
• Five furnace or air conditioner replacements
• Five handicapped accessibility bathroom remodels
• Four plumbing projects
• Four door replacements
• Three electrical service repairs
• Three retaining walls
• Two flooring repairs
• Two basement support or wall projects
• One insulation project
• One water heater replacement
Alstott said the projects financed by the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund help people stay in their homes. It also helps to prevent those homes from deteriorating to the point that the city government has to tear them down, he said.
Homes that are put back into a state of good repair through a trust fund project will remain a valuable part of the city’s housing options, according to the councilman.
”These will be affordable housing that people can move into,” he said.