Highlights from DonorConnect: Growing Workforce Housing for Thriving Communities

Jun 5, 2024

The supply of workforce housing in Central Iowa has lagged behind regional population growth, which has resulted in the higher cost of living in the fastest-growing job centers and for Iowans in lower-income strata. At a recent event hosted by the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines, housing advocates and experts shared how regional partnerships are critical to ensuring workforce housing meets demand, aligns with employment needs and is conveniently located near jobs and transportation. 

When investments are made in creative solutions and more sustainable workforce housing is created, existing residents can continue to live in the communities they love, while welcoming new residents to these growing neighborhoods throughout the Central Iowa region. Thank you to the following presenters for guiding us in this conversation:  

“As a region, we have recently released the Capital Crossroads Roadmap vision plan, and the need for workforce housing was elevated as one of the critical priorities,” said City of Waukee Mayor and Capital Crossroads Co-Chair Courtney Clarke. “The time is now to ensure that we have accessible and ‘right fit’ housing options in our communities, and this is only possible through local collaboration of public, private and nonprofit stakeholders.”  

Insights from Panelists 

Our panelists were invited to challenge the audience on what we can each do to become involved in addressing the lack of workforce housing. Here’s what they said:  

  • Come into community conversations with good intent. There are many interconnected pieces that go into addressing the workforce housing issue that may raise different opinions. When these different opinions arise it's important to remember the common goal everyone is there to solve. 
  • Be an advocate. Reach out to your local elected leaders about workforce housing and let them know of your support. You don't have to wait until a project is in your neighborhood. You can communicate with your elected officials ahead of time and prove to them workforce housing should be a priority. 
  • Revisit the idea of what a community looks like. For communities to prosper mixed use housing for all income levels is needed. Strive to build a community identity that makes affordable housing the norm, not the exception. 
  • Get involved. Support community organizations that are working to address the lack of workforce housing. There are opportunities to volunteer, advocate and donate. Chose at least one and get involved.  

Additional Resources

“It is part of our mission to encourage and empower our community’s donors to connect with causes they care about and understand our community’s most pressing needs; amplifying programs that promote accessible and affordable workforce housing is a great example of that, and of our community’s better together spirit as we come around our community,” said President of the Community Foundation of Greater Des Moines Kristi Knous.  

GIVEdsm is an online resource that provides you with opportunities to learn more about the needs of local nonprofits and consider offering support. You can select your areas of interest and see profiles of available projects. You can also make a gift directly from your Community Foundation charitable giving fund to projects that interest you. Visit GIVEdsm.org to get started!

As always, our team is here to simplify your giving to the causes you care about. Whether considering ways to maximize your giving todayinvolving your family in charitable conversations or planning how to leave a legacy for generations to come – we are here to create a personalized giving plan for you. Contact our team to learn more about customized giving solutions that enable you to give back in the ways that meet your unique goals. We are better together.