Fifty million dollars from the federal Housing and Urban Development agency is on the way to Iowa. Des Moines gets 6-point-8 million, Council Bluffs one-point-three million. Monica Fischer with the Iowa Housing Finance Authority says part of the reason is that they’re some of the neediest areas for home ownership.Urban areas have the oldest housing stock, and the most work to be done to turn them into livable units. Fischer says it also helped to have housing-assistance plans in place when the money was doled out.The state, and the towns, have to develop a plan for their housing and how they’ll use money, and it’s competitive to get your city’s project picked to receive the funding. In years past, public funding centered on rental housing for the poor, but Fischer confirms the spotlight is shifting to helping low-income families own their own homes.He says Home ownership is one of the best tools for “wealth creation,” bringing increased value back to the owner. Fischer says someone who owns their home is likely to be a better neighbor, too, because they have an interest in keeping up their investment. The HUD funds will be distributed by local housing and economic-development offices in Council Bluffs and Des Moines.
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