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Home Rehabilitation Block Grant Pilot Program

Home Repair Assistance for Iowa Neighborhoods

Iowa’s housing stock is comparatively older than that in the rest of the country. The average median home age is approximately 50 years and 65% of Iowa’s housing units were built prior to 1980.

The Home Rehabilitation Block Grant Pilot Program will offer eligible Iowa communities an opportunity to offer property owners in a targeted neighborhood financial assistance for eligible repair expenses to help preserve their homes.

Individual property owners are ineligible to apply directly to the Iowa Finance Authority.

Owners will be able to apply to the communities awarded funds through the program. The program(s) are anticipated to be available in approved targeted areas beginning in mid-2022.

Program Details

  • FUNDING

    $4 million pilot program targeted to stabilize neighborhoods and make transformative change in rural communities that have demonstrated active engagement in efforts to improve their housing stock and their downtowns.

  • MAXIMUM GRANT AWARD

    $1 million per applicant.

  • LOCAL MATCH REQUIREMENT

    Minimum 25% Local Match requirement (scoring consideration for additional leverage).

  • PERFORMANCE PERIOD

    Initial grant agreement performance period of two years from date of award approval.

Eligible Applicants

  • COMMUNITY

    Communities with a population under 30,000 (2020 Census), applying in partnership with homeowners and property owners in a targeted core neighborhood.

  • INDIVIDUAL PROPERTY OWNERS

    Individual property owners are ineligible to apply directly to the Iowa Finance Authority.

  • DOWNTOWN REVITALIZATION

    The Home Rehabilitation Block Grant Pilot Program is envisioned as a “hub and spoke” approach for rural cities that have reinvested in their downtowns to dedicate pilot program funding matched with significant local match resources and innovative public/private partnerships to revitalize a targeted residential neighborhood near the community’s downtown. The program will provide eligible city applicants with an opportunity to transform that block off Main Street in the same way the community has already invested to revitalize its downtown.

  • PUBLIC/PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS

    The applicant must demonstrate public/private partnerships related to the proposed project.

  • FINANCING INCENTIVES

    Local financing incentives for housing development and/or preservation must be offered.

  • BUILDING OR HOUSING CODE

    Community must have a locally adopted building or housing code and a program for local enforcement of that code.

  • ADMINISTRATIVE CAPACITY

    Must demonstrate qualified administrative capacity through the city or a partner entity.

Eligible Projects

  • REPAIR AND REHABILITATION

    Expenses of eligible homes.

  • TECHNICAL SERVICES

    Could include expenses such as inspections, work write-ups, cost estimates, construction supervision, radon testing, etc.) subject to a maximum per unit cap of $3,000 per unit.

  • INCOME LIMITS

    Funding must benefit households with incomes at or below 80% of the area median income (a commitment to deeper income targeting will be a competitive scoring item). Income limits are updated annually

  • CODES AND STANDARDS

    Rehabilitation activities must meet all applicable locally adopted and enforced building or housing codes, standards, or ordinances, as well as any applicable state and federal rules and regulations (such as may relate to Lead-Based Paint).

  • GENERAL ADMINISTRATION

    No grant funding will be available for general administration.

The program will accept applications through a competitive funding round.

The application will be available soon!
Application submission deadline March 31, 2022
Funding awards to be announced by mid-2022

FAQs

Does eligibility include owner-occupied units only or will rental units also be eligible for rehabilitation?

The applicant may propose assisting owner-occupied and/or rental units under the pilot program. Only residential units occupied by income-eligible households may be assisted using program funds. Additional scoring consideration may be given to applications proposing to assist a higher percentage of owner-occupied housing units.

Can Local Housing Trust Fund (LHTF) funding be pledged as Local Match?

Yes, provided the source of the funding commitment has not been pledged previously as Local Match under any other program, including the LHTF Program.

Are housing units located in the 100-year floodplain eligible for rehabilitation?

No

Can the same community submit an application for both the Downtown program and the Home Rehab program?

Yes

With normal housing rehab dollars, we focus on exterior housing improvements. With the pilot program, would any interior improvements like kitchens or bathrooms be allowed?

The applicant may propose to focus on exterior or interior improvements or both as part of their pilot program design.

Will the usual cap of $25,000 apply to each housing unit?

No, each applicant will be allowed to propose their own maximum investment per unit as part of their pilot program design.

One concept idea we are thinking of to enhance the public/private partnership idea and improve some of the worst housing stock in communities is to partner with local employers to flip houses. Would something like this be allowed for application?

Yes

How will IFA define an eligible applicant as a community that has demonstrated it has undertaken active efforts to revitalize and reinvest in its downtown?

A community that has “demonstrated it has undertaken active efforts to revitalize and reinvest in its downtown” shall be defined as an Iowa community with a population less than 30,000 that meets any of the following criteria:

  • Community has a designated Main Street Iowa program or implements a similar local program with a primary downtown revitalization focus, subject to approval of IEDA’s Downtown Resource Center; or
  • Community has received a downtown-focused funding award from IEDA under any of the following programs:
    • Community Catalyst Building Remediation Program
    • CDBG Downtown Revitalization Fund
    • CDBG Downtown Upper-Story Rental Housing Conversion Program
    • Downtown Housing Grant
    • Other downtown-focused program funding awards may be considered upon written request submitted to IFA prior to application submission. IFA will consult with IEDA’s Downtown Resource Center to determine if the “other” program meets the threshold definition of having demonstrated active efforts to revitalize and reinvest in its downtown.
Is the program intended to be a traditional owner-occupied rehabilitation program, similar to those we have operated with CDBG funding in the past, or what is IFA’s vision for the Home Rehabilitation Block Grant Pilot Program?

The Home Rehabilitation Block Grant Pilot Program is envisioned as a “hub and spoke” approach for rural cities that have reinvested in their downtowns to dedicate pilot program funding matched with significant local match resources and innovative public/private partnerships to revitalize a targeted residential neighborhood near the community’s downtown. The program will provide eligible city applicants with an opportunity to transform that block off Main Street in the same way the community has already invested to revitalize its downtown.

For questions, please contact:

Terri Rosonke

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