Student Built Housing Project

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This summer the City of Kalona will be working with The Greater Iowa City Area Home Builders Association (HBA) which serves Johnson, Washington, Cedar, and Iowa counties on a student-led home remodel project.

The goal of the project is straightforward but has a lot of unique components. 

The home at 721 6th street that is a 3 bedroom, 2 bath that is in need of improvement. With professional management through the HBA and student labor we look to add a garage, driveway, and new windows.  We will also provide electrical upgrades and redo both the kitchen and bathrooms.  On the outside, we will remove trees and current landscaping.   Then, with the student’s design help, implement a new landscaping plan.

As a community, we are always looking for collaborative and unique opportunities to enhance our workforce.  With this project at 721 6th street, we will be able to provide hands-on trades experience for students with our local contractors.  We have been overwhelmed with the community contractor’s support for helping make this project a reality and as the project progresses, we look forward to acknowledging those partners. 

Affordable housing is hard right now, and being able to rehab and offer up a quality home in a wonderful neighborhood to an income eligible family is something that we are excited to do.  As we work with our local lenders and East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) this fall we will be able to market a home to income-qualified buyers that will provide a fiscally sound path to first-time homeownership. 

Washington County and their partnership with ECICOG can/will assist with purchasing the home.  The eligible homebuyers can get assistance through the program that can help with up to $25,000.  This can be applied toward 50% of the down payment, inspection services, and closing costs for income eligible buyers.  For more information, please go to www.cityofkalona.org.

Moving forward we hope to use this project as a stepping stone to other student-led projects.  This could include additional remodels in our community, purchasing a prison-built home out of Newton where our local students would do the site prep and interior finishes www.iapisonind.com, or once the project grows to do a new construction project. 

Please be on the lookout for more information as we will work to provide more project updates in The News and online.   As we proceed with the project, we will be working to create a fiscally responsible and sustainable housing program with the use of low to moderate-income funds for the betterment of our community. 

Should you have or know of a student in high school in our geographic area that would be interested in participating this summer you can find the application online at www.cityofkalona.org or have them reach out at 319-656-2310.

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