“Community Housing Initiatives” has become the state’s largest non-profit housing organization. According to communications director Matt Hauge, people involved in a community action agency in northwest Iowa were the instigators.
“They said, you know, we provide all kinds of assistance to people. We do great programs, but there’s not enough housing up here. It’s after the Farm Crisis. Nobody’s building housing in rural Iowa,” Hauge said during a recent interview on KROS Radio.
Low income housing tax credits as well as tax credits for historic preservation are used to finance the developments. A couple of decades later, the organization has built or renovated affordable housing in 31 Iowa communities. That includes projects in downtown Sioux City, Clinton and Waterloo.
“We always say we have kind of a strange name. To be called ‘Community Housing Initiatives’ people like we’re maybe an office of your city or something like that,” Hauge said.
The organization’s work has yielded 1400 apartments throughout the state, with modestly-priced rent that someone in a low-wage job can afford. Community Housing Initiatives was founded in the small town of Graettinger in 1994. The corporate offices are now in Spencer and Des Moines.
(Additional reporting by Dave Vickers of KROS in Clinton)