Heart of Iowa Helps Homeowners | News, Sports, Jobs
As any homeowner knows, it doesn’t take long for maintenance and repair costs to add up.
And if the roof starts to leak or the furnace goes out, a homeowner is immediately looking at thousands of dollars in bills. For some, especially the elderly and disabled, it is simply not possible to pay for the necessary repairs.
But as of 2019, those in this position have a potential new source of help – the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund.
Since its inception, the Housing Trust Fund has invested $ 1,104,170 in homes in Webster and Hamilton counties.
This total includes $ 905,378 from the state government, with the remainder coming from local matching funds.
“It’s a big project,” said Fort Dodge City Councilor Kim Alstott.
The trust fund uses money from government and private sources to provide financial assistance to people who own single-family homes and account for up to 80 percent of the region’s median income. Priority is given to people with an income equal to or less than 30% of the region’s median income, people with disabilities and those aged 62 or over.
Help isn’t exactly handout, however. The money comes in the form of homeowner loans. These are five-year interest-free loans that will be canceled for those who stay at least five years in the house where the money was invested.
Since 2019, the trust fund has provided the money to complete 22 projects in Webster County, all but four in Fort Dodge.
15 other projects were funded in Hamilton County.
Each project can consist of one or more repairs. For example, a project might consist of a new roof and a new front door on a house.
Roofing and guttering work represent a large part of the projects. In Webster County, the trust paid for 12 roof and gutter jobs.
Other reparations funded by the trust include:
• Eight window replacement projects
• Five furnace or air conditioner replacements
• Five bathroom renovations accessible to people with reduced mobility
• Four plumbing projects
• Four door replacements
• Three electrical service repairs
• Three retaining walls
• two floor covering repairs
• Two support or basement wall projects
• An insulation project
• A water heater replacement
Alstott said projects funded by the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund help people stay in their homes. It also helps prevent these homes from deteriorating to the point that the municipal government has to demolish them, he said.
Houses restored to good condition through a trust fund project will remain a valuable part of the city’s housing options, according to the city councilor.
“It will be affordable housing that people can move into,” he said.