My wife and I were recently talking about redoing our kitchen, and during this conversation, I noted that in order for this work to be done this year, it was going to be done by us, not a contractor. While I like to think my renovation skills rival Bob Villa (they do not), this highlighted a much bigger issue –the lack of qualified construction workers in our state. Try to get a bid for work – cannot find a contractor to work on a single-family home. However, at times, one can look around Des Moines, and it looks like Bob the Builder is having a convention. This is great, right?
But….lumber is at an all-time high, appliances are on back-order, and labor is tough to find. At the same time, we need more homes. Did you know by 2030, Iowa will need an additional 47,000
homes to meet the demand? Let’s think about that, that is 5,222 homes a year, for the next nine (9) years, being built!
The question is, who will build those homes? For example, the average age of an electrician in the United States is 60 years old. What are we doing to create a workforce to help build these homes? Too often in affordable housing, the most common remark is “If we only had more resources, we could build more housing.”
Money is not the only answer. Iowa needs to have a comprehensive housing plan to address this overwhelming demand. Having money is not enough to cover the needs that affordable housing requires.
The Iowa Housing Partnership was created because there was no one single group that promoted affordable housing of every kind in Iowa. The Iowa Housing Partnership was created to address all types of housing concerns and to bring together people who might be doing the same thing, but did not know it. While the problems may be many, never in my career have I seen the excitement and the interest in creating affordable housing.
Last week I spoke of celebrating our successes, but let us also embrace the challenges. That seems strange to say but without having a challenge, we would never be able celebrate beating those challenges. Affordable housing is a constant challenge. Affordable housing is not easy; affordable housing is crucial to the success of our rural areas, our suburbs and our urban areas. It is not easy, but it is very rewarding.
So, let’s put our creative efforts together and push toward a common goal of creating a robust affordable housing network to benefit our communities across Iowa. You can do this by participating in IHP’s Zoom calls and other networking events this summer and fall. If you want to participate, or can think of a housing topic that we should cover, please contact us.
As always, the Iowa Housing Partnership urges you to become a member if you have not. Things are happening and things are changing, and it is an exciting time to be a part of this movement.