Rural Housing Challenges and Opportunities

There is, perhaps, no more challenging issue in rural communities than maintaining and expanding access to quality housing.  The type of housing doesn’t matter:  single-family owner-occupied, market rate rentals, affordable rentals or senior housing.  It’s a challenge in rural Iowa due to the inherent risk in sparsely-populated areas and the difficulty financing these projects.

In Iowa, there are resources for rural communities seeking to address their housing needs.  It can be as simple as an initial call to a Council of Government or Regional Planning Commission, a conversation with ISU Extension about its Rural Housing Readiness Assessment, or a call to Housing 360 with its strategy of new construction on infill lots.

The Iowa Rural Development Council is prepared to leverage its members and partners to support rural communities seeking solutions to housing issues.

Resources and Partners

There are many resource providers when it comes to rural housing:  There are federal agencies like the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the US Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development agency (RD), state agencies including Iowa Economic Development Authority and the Iowa Finance Authority, and associations, developers and non-profits such as Iowa Habitat for Humanity.

Yet, often a first step for communities mulling their housing situation is a search for information — both about themselves and the resources they can contact.  A local asset might be a banker, a realtor or Chamber director.  Statewide and nationally, other organizations exist to provide support.

Case Studies and News Items

Sometimes the best solutions are just down the road.  Many rural Iowa communities are implementing innovative solutions to address their housing needs.  Those case studies and best practices can be a roadmap for other communities – if they know where to look!

IRDC Launches New Website

The Iowa Rural Development Council is pleased to unveil its new website,  which was created by the talented team at Big Imprint, a West Liberty-based websites and marketing firm. “We are thrilled to have Ethan Anderson and the Big Imprint designers on our team,” said IRDC Chair Sandy Ehrig.  “We... Read More →

Governor Signs ‘Empower Rural Iowa’ Bill

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds used the backdrop of the Wilton Candy Kitchen to sign legislation that provides state funds for rural housing and broadband. An article in the Cedar Rapids Gazette provides more information. Members of the ‘Empower Rural Iowa’ task force and the Iowa Rural Development Council joined Governor... Read More →