Funds available for home repair in five northeast Iowa counties

Housing doesn’t just affect those who live in it. The availability of quality housing options is a critical part of economic competitiveness. A recent study by the Upper Explorerland Regional Planning Commision (UERPC) found that nearly 40% of area homes are over 80 years old.

With so many older homes, there’s a substantial need for rehabilitation that goes beyond simple maintenance. Unfortunately, many of these needed repairs are beyond the financial means of some homeowners.

UERPC has secured funding to assist elderly (ages 62 and older) or disabled households with home repairs up to $23,000 through the Federal Home Loan Bank (FLHB) of Des Moines. This program, called the Homeowner Rehabilitation Program, is available for anyone who resides in the five-county UERPC area (Allamakee, Clayton, Fayette, Howard and Winneshiek) and meets income guidelines. The FHLB provides housing assistance through member institutions, including FreedomBank of Postville, Monona and Elkader.

“These programs aren’t just a means of helping individual homeowners, though they certainly can provide needed assistance,” said Nathan Thompson of UERPC. “They are also a way to ensure that our regional housing stock is maintained in good condition for the next person who owns that home, and that property values are maintained for their neighborhood. We all recognize that quality, affordable housing is a challenge across the region, and programs like this are a great way to help out by aiding homeowners, bringing investment back into our area, supporting local businesses, and ultimately keeping our region economically competitive.”

The Homeowner Rehabilitation program complements the Northeast Iowa Regional Housing Trust Fund, an income-based housing rehabilitation program open to anyone income-qualified in the UERPC area, as well as city-specific rehabilitation and first-time homebuyer programs. “If you have questions, just ask,” said Thompson. “You may qualify for one of our programs. These repairs aren’t just fixing your home, they are providing real value to the community as a whole.”

Anyone interested in learning more about UERPC housing programs can contact their office at 563-864-7551, find program information at uerpc.org, or by emailing hhackman@uerpc.org or nthompson@uerpc.org.

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