Des Moines Habitat for Humanity’s Door to Homeownership

HabitatA Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity build at the 2014 Home & Remodeling Show presented by the Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines gave attendees a glimpse of a nonprofit organization committed to walking with impoverished families on the path to homeownership.

The entrance to Habitat’s for Humanity’s one-of-a-kind exhibit in the Varied Industries Building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds included the mock-up of a substandard one-bedroom apartment. Organizers say the 483-square-foot display was representative of conditions not atypical for a single adult with four children and 50 to 60 percent of household income going just to live inside the home.

Visitors emerged on “celebration” side of the home with fresh paint, new furnishings and a dedicated team of volunteers who – combined with 300 to 400 hours of “sweat equity” poured by each applicant into the renovation or construction of their new home – partner with families, businesses and communities to help make the dream of ownership come true.

“We are trying to show the before and after picture of a homebuyer’s journey to homeownership,” said Amy Smith, director of communications with Greater Des Moines Habitat for Humanity. “There are 10,000 people stuck in cost-burdened housing in Polk County right now. We are building around 30 homes this year, but there are still a lot of people who need affordable housing and need assistance.”

Thousands of people were given an opportunity to explore Habitat for Humanity’s Remodeling Show project, which following the event was scheduled for reconstruction on an actual building site and with a real family in waiting. In addition 22 to 24 new construction homes in the metropolitan area this year, Smith says the Greater Des Moines chapter is undertaking six remodels, as well as 100 repair and maintenance projects in existing homes as part of the organization’s Rock the Block neighborhood revitalization program.

“The Home Builders Association of Greater Des Moines gave us an opportunity to tell this story and we are very appreciative of their continued partnership,” Smith said. “This is real house plan and after the show we’ll take down the walls and move them to a real construction site and it will become a home. Homeownership is a community success stories for many families who can now afford food, afford clothing, even send their kids to college because of the support of our neighbors, our donors and our volunteers.”