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Heart of Iowa Housing Trust Fund makes an impact

It combines public, private money to help homeowners

It didn’t take long for a new housing fund to start making an impact in Webster and Hamilton counties.

The Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund was organized in late 2018 thanks to $217,108 from the state plus matching funds from local governments and banks. It started putting that money to work at the beginning of this year.

The results have been impressive. They include 11 new roofs, eight home energy efficiency upgrades, five handicapped accessibility projects, three new water heaters and one retaining wall.

All of those projects were vital to the people who live in the homes where the work was done.

The projects also demonstrate the mission of the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund, which is keeping people who need a little financial help in their own homes.

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 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.

Three local officials are largely responsible for the trust fund project. They are Vickie Reeck, the community and economic development manager for the city of Fort Dodge; Paige Wheeler, nuisance inspection administrative technician for the city of Fort Dodge; and Lindsay Henderson, community vitality director for Webster City.

It is refreshing to see a housing program that produces real results for people, and does so quickly.

We thank Reeck, Wheeler and Henderson for doing the hard work to make this program possible.

We believe the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund is worthy of support.