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Closing the Gap: Addressing the Workforce Housing Shortage in Central Iowa

A panel presentation before an excited audience.
The Community Foundation's recent DonorConnect panel focused on workforce housing.

The supply of workforce housing in Central Iowa has lagged behind regional population growth, which has resulted in a higher cost of living in the fastest-growing job centers and for Iowans in lower-income strata. At a recent event hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, housing advocates and experts shared how regional partnerships are critical to ensuring workforce housing meets demand, aligns with employment needs and is conveniently located near jobs and transportation.

“As a region, we have recently released the Capital Crossroads Roadmap vision plan, and the need for workforce housing was elevated as one of the critical priorities,” said City of Waukee Mayor and Capital Crossroads Co-Chair Courtney Clarke. “The time is now to ensure that we have accessible and ‘right fit’ housing options in our communities, and this is only possible through local collaboration of public, private and nonprofit stakeholders.”

Panelists from across the housing spectrum shared how workforce housing is essential to build thriving neighborhoods and competitive communities. Participants included City of Waukee Mayor and Capital Crossroads Co-Chair Courtney Clarke, Developer Molly Cutler, Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity CEO Lance Henning and Polk County Housing Trust Fund Executive Director Toby O’Berry.

“Ensuring that existing residents can continue to live in the communities they love, while welcoming new residents to growing neighborhoods is essential to regional vision goals around thriving neighborhoods,” said President of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Kristi Knous. “It is part of our mission to encourage and empower our community’s donors to connect with causes they care about and understand our community’s most pressing needs; amplifying programs that promote accessible and affordable workforce housing is a great example of that, and of our community’s better together spirit as we come around our community.”


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