Heart of Iowa helps homeowners | News, Sports, Jobs

-Submitted photo

Deterioration is evident in the shingles of this area home. Money from the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund paid for needed repairs.

As any homeowner knows, it doesn’t take long for the costs of maintenance and repairs to pile up.

And if the roof starts to leak or the furnace malfunctions, a homeowner immediately looks at thousands of dollars in bills. For some, especially the elderly and disabled, it is simply not possible to pay for the necessary repairs.

But as of 2019, people in that position have been given a new source of potential help: the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund.

Since its inception, the Housing Fund has invested $1,104,170 in homes in Webster and Hamilton counties.

That total includes $905,378 from the state government, with the rest coming from local matching funds.

-Submitted photo

New shingles provide a solid roof for this area home after money is paid from the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund for a roof replacement.

“This is a great project,” said Kim Alstott, Fort Dodge City Councilman.

The trust fund uses money from the government and private sources to provide financial assistance to people who own single-family homes and earn up to 80 percent of the area’s median income. Priority is given to those with incomes of 30 percent or less of the area’s median income, those with disabilities, and those aged 62 or older.

However, the help isn’t exactly a handout. The money comes in the form of loans to the homeowners. They are interest-free, five-year loans that are waived for those who stay in the house where the money is invested for at least five years.

As of 2019, the trust fund has provided the money to do 22 projects in Webster County, with all but four in Fort Dodge.

In Hamilton County, another 15 projects have been paid for.

Each project can consist of one or more repairs. For example, a project might consist of a new roof and a new front door on a house.

Roof and gutters are responsible for a large part of the projects. In Webster County, the trust paid for 12 gutters and gutters.

Other repairs funded by the trust include:

• Eight window replacement projects

• Replace five ovens or air conditioners

• Five bathroom renovations for the disabled

• Four sanitary projects

• Four-door replacements

• Three electrical service repairs

• Three retaining walls

• Two floor repairs

• Two basement support or wall projects

• One insulation project

• One boiler replacement

Alstott said the projects funded by the Heart of Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund help people continue living at home. It also helps keep those houses from deteriorating to the point where the city government has to tear them down, he said.

According to the alderman, homes that are restored to a good state of repair through a trust fund project will remain a valuable part of the city’s housing supply.

“These will be affordable housing for people to move into,” he said.

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