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Is Superwoman Real?

We might have spotted a superhero here in Des Moines. Description includes an amazing woman, working hard, and making her life and her family’s lives incredible. That’s a superhero to us here at HOME, Inc.

Chrissy purchased her home from HOME, Inc. at the end of November 2018. All HOME, Inc. houses are 2-4 bedroom single family homes complete with a garage. If there is a basement in the home, our organization does not finish it, but, we do provide the necessities in order to be finished at a later date. 

Can you guess what this superwoman did?! She finished the basement in just six months living in the home. WOW! Finishing a basement is such a complex task to undertake and we are so impressed Chrissy has been able to accomplish so much in the past six months. 

One of the reasons we are so happy that Chrissy is making updates to her house is because home improvements are a staple to homeownership. There are many benefits of updating a house including: making it seem more comfortable, making it more energy efficient, keeping up with maintenance, and better curb appeal. Continual updates to a home is essential to increase or maintain the market price of a home. 

“Losing value of a real estate is usually caused by neglect in a property's maintenance. Therefore, in the long run, regular maintenance is crucial for the property's value to appreciate.” 

So yes, Superwoman is real. Homeowners are superheroes. And Chrissy is soaring and creating a better life at home for her family. 

Check out the final updates below!

Downtown Workforce Housing Study

The National Low Income Housing Coalition came out with a report in the beginning of 2019 reporting that Des Moines needs to address affordable housing, specifically in the metro area. 60% of Extremely Low-Income tenants cannot afford rental units. Additionally, Des Moines needs to add 11,848 affordable units. 

Because of these findings, Capitol Crossroads, the City of Des Moines, and the Polk County Housing Trust Fund collaborated to find data about the urban Des Moines area. Here are some of the key findings:

  • Households with four or more people have little to no opportunity to find a unit Downtown.
  • Nearly 58,000 households in the Des Moines are cost-burdened, spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing. 
  • Polk County will need to add 57,170 net new housing units between 2018 and 2038 to accommodate net new workers in the region. 
  • Polk County will need to add a total of 33,592 new owner-occupied units.
  • On the rental side, these employment-driven housing demand forecasts suggest a need for 23,577 new rental units over the 2018 to 2038 period.

Our Executive Director, Pam Carmichael, attended two presentations this past week speaking about the findings from the report: “We have long known that we have an affordable housing shortage in the Des Moines area. Although we have always known that housing impacts economic development, this report links the need for affordable housing as a workforce and economic development issue. As businesses expand and hire new workers at low wage jobs the workers still need a place to go home at night. If we don’t have available affordable housing our businesses will not be able to grow and prosper. It’s like the old saying; ‘Which came first the chicken or the egg?’.”

“Unfortunately, some people have taken the title of “downtown” totally out of context and believe that this is a Des Moines problem. No, this is a regional problem. Downtown Des Moines does have the largest workforce, however some of the lowest paying jobs are in retail and every suburb in Polk County relies on retail shopping to attract and retain residents.”    

Learn More:
Details about the National Low Income Housing Coalition Report:

Read the Downtown Workforce Housing Study: 

Welcome home!

Open houses are a long-standing tradition in the sale of residential real estate to expose more people to a home for sale. While HOME, Inc. has held open houses for many years, we use them as an opportunity to welcome the new family to their home and show the community what quality affordable housing should look like. 

Last week, we celebrated the completion of our 391st home and the new homeowners, Thanh & Thi with an open house. The new family is from Vietnam and have been in the United States for just two years. Homeownership was always a top priority for them, but with lender restrictions they needed HOME, Inc.’s support and guidance to get homeownership ready. As an organization, we are so proud of all the family was able to overcome and accomplish in only two years in a foreign country without speaking the native language. Congratualtions, Thanh & Thi!

Also, thank you to everyone who took time out of their busy schedules to stop by and see the newly constructed home. We were more than pleased with the turnout! It was incredible to see the support of community partners, city representatives, and business leaders. Even more heartwarming, was the representation of neighbors. It was great to see people who live in the neighborhood take notice of the work we did and stop by to celebrate with us. 

During the event, our Homeownership Coordinator collected information on six families interested in using our counseling services to get homebuyer ready. The overwhelmingly positive response to our open house just affirms there is a need for our services. A safe, decent place to live is the cornerstone of a strong community. We are proud to change lives today and for generations to come. 

Pictured above from left to right: Thi Bac & Thanh Ca

Pictured above from left to right: Chris Hensley, Linda Westergaard, Thi Bac, Thanh Ca, Lahn Bui, Tom Hockensmith, and Pam Carmichael 

Pictured above from left to right: Thi Bac,Thanh Ca, and Lahn Bui

The Revolving Loan Pool

Alright, let’s talk math. Everyone’s favorite subject, right?! It might not seem like the most glamorous idea for a blog but when you hear about what HOME, Inc. has done, we hope you gain a bit more passion around math, or non-profits, whichever floats your boat. 

Let’s start with the basics. HOME, Inc. wanted to create a revolving loan pool large enough to acquire land, start projects and reduce the amount of needed in bank loans.  By doing this we could start and complete projects in less time and decrease the amount of borrowed funds.   Reduced construction time and interest paid to lenders decreases the cost of the home to the homebuyer.  Once the house is sold, the money we used from our loan pool is replaced and used in another development project.  The loan pool is strictly for housing development. 

The idea of the revolving loan pool all started in 2017. HOME, Inc. received a $100,000 grant from the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines in order to create a loan pool.  Those funds were matched by a development grant for Polk County.  HOME, Inc. used our Community Housing Development Organization program income to add $100,000. The loan pool became $300,000 (great job with the math!) and we were ready to start.

There is no doubt that our loan pool has helped to increase our efficiency and capacity while allowing us to keep our homes as affordable as possible. In 2017 we built 5 homes and $690,000 in bank loans and in 2018 we built 6 homes and borrowed $345,000.  In 2019 we expect to build 8 new units. Through increased capacity and using our loan pool as leverage, we will receive $1 million in 0% interest loans and grants to further reduce our need to borrow.

We thank the Greater Des Moines Community Foundation and Polk County for their investment in HOME, Inc.  This grants provided a “gift” that will continue to help provide opportunities for affordable housing today and in the future.