Iowa town welcomes grant-funded affordable housing

A town in Iowa receives a grant to build 40 affordable homes
Published: Mar. 17, 2022 at 3:06 PM CDT
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WOODBINE, Iowa (WOWT) - We think of the need for affordable housing as a big city issue, but smaller communities are experiencing the same thing.

The Iowa town of Woodbine just received a community development block grant to build 40 new affordable homes. That’s a big number for a small community.

Things are moving fast in Woodbine. Looking to attract new families to the area, the town just received a $19M grant for affordable housing.

Population growth in this Harrison County borough has increased in five of the last six decades, creating a need.

“Rural Iowa has a housing shortage and so we are happy to fill in that gap,” said Deb Sprecker, Executive Director of Woodbine Main Street Development.

She said bringing new faces to the community will help it continue to grow and the foundation of that is through affordable housing.

“The home sale price will be $175,000, the grant covers the value of a home that’s $275,000. With the rising cost of construction, it’s very difficult for a community to supply adequate and energy-efficient housing for families.”

The Harvest Hills development will fill a hillside on the west side of town. None of the models are built yet, but Sprecker said the inside is similar to a few other homes in the area.

Nancy Foutch has called Woodbine home for 54 years. She supports the new development.

“It’s very important if the town is going to stay alive,” she said. “It’s just good all the way around. A lot of progress bringing in some new people and probably some industry.”

Sprecker said $20 million have already been invested in downtown Woodbine and other amenities.

Bringing new families here is the next step.

“We’re just a very short commute into the Omaha-Council Bluffs metro area, 40 minutes, so we feel like we’re in the best of both worlds here,” she said.

Down payment assistance and closing costs are available through a five-year receding forgivable loan. There is also a cap on income for the program of up to $70,000 for a family of four.

The affordable housing family homes are made possible through the Community Development Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Development, according to the Iowa Economic Development Authority.

Officials are encouraging those interested in purchasing the homes to begin the process toward obtaining a mortgage.

“All qualified participants will be placed in a lottery drawing in order to provide an equitable way to select home lot sites,” according to a news release from Nustyle Development.

The Southwest Iowa Planning Council, located in Atlantic, is handling the applications for these homes. To apply call 866-279-4720.

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