A new house arrives in the Muscatine district

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The new house will help provide affordable housing for the city’s workforce.

MUSCATINE, Iowa – The city of Muscatine is working to address the shortage of affordable housing.

Jodi Royal-Goodwin, director of economic development for Muscatine, said the city has conducted studies to show there is a need for around 1,000 affordable housing units.

Part of the effort to address this shortage is partnering with the “Homes for Iowa” program.

A once empty lot in Muscatine is where Charla Schafer, executive director of the Community Foundation of Greater Muscatine, started about a year ago.

“Anytime there’s a statewide initiative that can help people be successful, we definitely want to be part of it,” Schafer said.

This lot on Spring Street is where, over the past year, Schafer has worked with Royal-Goodwin to literally bring more housing to Muscatine.

“Seeing him turn around the corner and start on the street was a pretty exciting time for us,” Schafer said.

On Monday, the house slowly made its way from Newton, Iowa to Muscatine.

The builders ? They are prisoners.

“The prisoners who work on the houses and do the construction are trained by master-level craftsmen and what we know is that the recidivism, to return to prison, is 30% less in this vocational training”, Schafer said.

“They come out with a skill that every community in the state of Iowa needs,” Royal-Goodwin said. “Some of them do HVAC, some do plumbing.”

Royal-Goodwin said having a house like this in Muscatine is exactly what the community needs.

“Workforce housing is essential to the economic engine of the city, so for businesses to continue to thrive or for new businesses to settle in our community,” said Royal-Goodwin.

The house itself will sell for around $ 155,000 and will be sold at construction cost, according to Schafer.

The house cost about $ 75,000 to build. The remainder of the cost is for completing the landscaping, finishing the interior, and creating a parking space, among other improvements.

“If we can replicate that at any level with any style of development, that’s exactly what we need to do,” said Royal-Goodwin.

The teams will be back on Tuesday morning to slide the house onto its foundations and plug in the utilities.

The Community Foundation will accept applications from potential buyers in the coming weeks. This information will be posted on the organization’s website and on social media pages.

Schafer says the application process will focus on first-time home buyers.

He added that at least one more “Home for Iowa” house is planned, but she is waiting for inventory to be available from Newton before she finds any potential land.

Schafer hopes that this house will be completed somewhere in Muscatine County in 2022 or 2023.


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