Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced a total of almost $20 million in investments to support downtown housing projects in 61 Iowa communities, creating 466 new homes for residents. Locally, DeWitt will receive $600,000 to convert the former Iowa Mutual Insurance building into 53 rental homes. Muscatine will receive $200,000 to convert the upper story of a building on Second Street into two residential units.

The funds came from the Downtown Housing Grant program, which provides financing for downtown revitalization through new housing opportunities in communities with populations of 30,000 or below. The program will drive the conversion of a total of two former schools, seven underutilized facilities and 52 upper story buildings into housing across the state.

“An adequate housing supply is the lynchpin to attracting and retaining a healthy and flourishing workforce,” said Gov. Reynolds. “The investments announced today will not only provide 466 Iowans the opportunity to live near where they work but they will breathe new life into dozens of underutilized facilities in our communities.”  

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

“This program provides a unique and transformative opportunity to both revitalize our communities and increase our housing stock across the state,” said Gov. Reynolds. “Communities have answered the call for unique and inspiring housing projects, and I look forward to seeing them come to fruition.”  

The Downtown Housing Grant Program is a part of Gov. Reynolds’ $100 million investment to increase the supply of housing options and protect and expand housing opportunities for Iowans to live in or near the communities where they work. The resources come from the federal American Rescue Act and state and local fiscal relief funds.