Nearly $20 million in grants to support downtown housing has been distributed to 61 Iowa communities, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced last week.

The awards, made through the state’s downtown Housing Grant program, will create 466 new residences. The grant program provides financial support for downtown revitalization in communities with populations of 30,000 or below.

“An adequate housing supply is the [linchpin] to attracting and retaining a healthy and flourishing workforce,” Reynolds said in a prepared statement.

Projects that received grants include:
  • The former Iowa Mutual Insurance building in De Witt, which will be remodeled to create 53 rental homes.
  • A former middle school in Jefferson that will be converted into 25 rentals and one in Winterset that will result in 27 housing units.
  • A historic brewery in Cascade that has been unused for 25 years that will be remodeled to create 10 new rental homes.

Overall, the 61 projects include the conversion into housing of two former schools, seven underutilized facilities and 52 upper-story buildings.

The program had $20 million available for awards and received 94 applications requesting $31 million in funding. Projects were scored on a competitive basis on criteria including project appropriateness, funding and partnerships, impact on housing in the community and population.

To view a list of grant recipients, click here.