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Need for Housing for Iowans With Disabilities Outstrips Supply

September 10, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - There are more than 350,000 Iowans with disabilities, and many of them need affordable and accessible housing, which currently is in short supply in Iowa.

Most of the housing in the state is over 50 years old and wasn't built with people with disabilities in mind. The Iowa Housing Authority is going to administer a community-based loan fund to provide financing developers need to construct specialized affordable housing that meets the needs of Iowans with disabilities.

Rik Shannon with the Iowa Developmental Disabilities Council says most housing in Iowa not only isn't accessible but mostly isn't affordable for people with disabilities.

"Most individuals are living on very limited incomes, so the affordability is critical for people with many types of disabilities."

He says many Iowans with disabilities want their own homes but are institutionalized instead.

"It's actually resulting in a situation where we have people who would love to move to the community, but they're instead placed in other institutional or congregate settings, because of the unavailability of that affordable and accessible housing."

Once developers submit plans approved by the Iowa Department of Human Services, they can apply for loans from the Iowa Finance Authority for construction offered at 1 percent interest, ranging up to $500,000 per project.

Richard Alan, Public News Service - IA