Why do you live where you do? Did you fall in love with the neighborhood? Do you want your kids to attend the local schools? Is it close to your job, your friends, or your favorite restaurant? Is it the right size, the right style, or even the right color? Is it simply the best place you could afford?
Choosing a place to live is an incredibly complicated decision. Each one of us has different wants and needs, and sometimes these wants and needs even conflict each other. Now imagine these decisions playing out on a regional scale: over 200,000 households in Greater Des Moines each looking for housing that fits their unique wish list. It would be a tall order for everyone to get what they want. We know that many people don’t.
This is why Housing Tomorrow is so important. As we know from The Tomorrow Plan, Central Iowa is expected to grow by over 250,000 people by 2050. And each of those people will need a place to live that suits their needs. If we don’t anticipate what those needs might be, there is simply no way that we will be able to accommodate them. This would have a lasting impact on our ability to attract new residents. If we don’t offer suitable housing in our region, people will move somewhere that does.
Housing Tomorrow will be the first plan to consider our housing needs as a region in depth. Where should new housing be built? Do we need apartments, townhomes, or single-family houses? How do housing prices match up to the income of our workforce? We may not be able to answer these questions ourselves, but we can help local governments answer them by providing the information they need.
Of course, for us to understand our region’s housing needs, we need to hear from you! Throughout the next year, we will be asking you about your needs, and how the region can better accommodate them. We’ll conduct focus groups and meetings, and we’ll be at community events to meet you where you are. Your first opportunity to tell us about those needs is happening this month through our presence at Metro Arts’ Jazz in July concerts.
At nine of the sixteen concerts (in Urbandale, Evelyn K. Davis Park, Hispanic Educational Resources, Beaverdale, 6th Ave Corridor, Johnston, Wesley Acres, Waukee, and Copper Creek), we will begin the first public outreach for Housing Tomorrow. We will have a few interactive activities that will ask you about where you live now and what housing you might like to see in Greater Des Moines. We hope that you’ll share your thoughts with us!
Josh Hellyer joined the Polk County Housing Trust Fund in 2013 as Policy and Communications Coordinator. In that capacity, he is responsible for collection and analysis of community housing data as well as affordable housing policy research. Prior to joining the PCHTF, Hellyer served as a member of the ISU Housing Inventory study team working to identify affordable housing inventory and trends in Polk County. He is responsible for effective communication of PCHTF collected housing data and policy positions. He also assists with graphic design and content creation for the PCHTF website, eNewsletter, and social media outlets. Hellyer received two Bachelor degrees from Iowa State University in Community and Regional Planning and French. He received the American Institute of Certified Planners’ Outstanding Planning Student award in 2013.