Governor Reynolds. (RI file photo)

Governor Kim Reynolds is directing $100 million in federal pandemic relief money be spent on housing projects. Reynolds calls it a “transformative investment” that will lead to creation of approximately 36,450 new housing units.

Sixty-five million from this latest allotment will go toward tax credit programs for housing developers. Twenty million will be awarded as grants for projects in Iowa cities with fewer than 30,000 residents that convert downtown buildings into housing units. The rest will be used to finance home repairs, to help minority homebuyers make downpayments and to expand the number of homes inmates at the state prison in Newton are building.

These funds are in addition to the $230 million for housing the Iowa legislature approved spending over the next five years. Reynolds called the combined $330 million dollars  a “down payment” on Iowa’s future prosperity.

“We’ve seen a growing mismatch between where the job opportunities are thriving and where people can find affordable places to live,” the governor said in remarks broadcast last night on KCRG TV.

According to the Iowa Finance Authority, 40% of the housing units in Iowa were built before 1950. The agency’s latest report concludes the most common housing problem in Iowa is a lack of affordable housing.