Workforce housing appears to be in short supply not only in Storm Lake, but across Iowa.
In the most recent round of applications to Iowa Finance Authority for federally-financed Low Income Housing Tax Credits, developers requested $27 million for projects, nearly three times the amount of available funding.
Dave Jamison, Iowa Finance Authority Executive Director, spoke with the Pilot-Tribune on Tuesday afternoon about the competitive nature of the program, before touring current and potential future affordable housing in Storm Lake with the IFA Board of Directors, NWIA Planning and Development and city officials.
In May, Storm Lake missed out on securing tax credits for two developers' projects, which totaled $9.5 million.
Overland Property Group of Topeka, Kan., proposed two sixteen-unit apartment buildings north of 13th Street and west of Seneca Street, while Metro Plains of St. Paul, Minn. proposed a 24-unit townhouse development on the east side of the Field of Dreams.
With a point-based scoring assigned to each potential project, Jamison described the application process as "tight."
"While we want to make sure our resources will be used as efficiently as possible, it's clear there is a need out there, but the program is very competitive," he said.
Will additional funding ever be allotted? Not likely.
"Right now, our fear is that the program is always on the list of things to be cut from the federal budget," Jamison explained.
Storm Lake, like other small towns across Iowa experiencing growth, has an unmet need.
"There are definitely housing needs in Storm Lake," he said. "There needs to be affordable, clean, modest housing, what we would call workforce housing."
Instead of reading about small-town Iowa's needs, Jamison said his staff has been pro-active in meeting with area development individuals.
"We want to take the many tools we have to see if they meet the needs of the community," he said.
Points of interest along Tuesday's tour included Holly Heights, North Park, Lake View Manor and Seneca Place, as well as potential development areas near the Field of Dreams.
Community Development Director Mike Wilson said the City of Storm Lake is working with several developers, who plan to apply again next year for tax credits to fund apartment projects.
Wilson did not disclose if Overland and Metro Plains would try to apply again for projects proposed earlier this year.