John Lawrence’s message from Sept. 16, 2019
During our 2018 listening sessions, housing was identified as one of the top five issues affecting Iowa communities’ ability to thrive. We weren’t surprised. For years, our Community and Economic Development program staff have conducted housing needs assessments in Iowa communities, often in the wake of natural disasters, such as the 2008 flooding in eastern Iowa and the 2011 tornado in Mapleton. The Rural Housing Readiness Assessment is a new example of the research and best practices gained from CED work. Iowans can use this data-gathering tool on their own to assess their community’s housing situation and make informed decisions. Did you know?
- CED specialist Jon Wolseth and ISU grad student Caleb Knutson had been identifying best practices for improving housing access and quality for immigrants and refugees in Polk, Dallas and Warren counties. They gathered existing housing needs assessments and plans for communities (other than Des Moines) in the three counties.
- Caleb developed a rubric for evaluating the documents. CED specialists Abbie Gaffey and Eric Christianson helped Jon identify the information to include in the new assessment tool and where to find it.
- In evaluating the documents, Jon determined that the information they were discovering was applicable to any population facing housing issues. This spring he shared the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment at the Iowa Rural Development Summit and the Southeast Iowa Housing Conference.
All Iowans benefit when rural communities can address their local housing concerns. To learn more about the Rural Housing Readiness Assessment, contact Jon Wolseth at 515-509-0558 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Please review the September program update from the leadership team for current examples of what is happening across our programs.
- Registration is open for the 2019 Office Professionals Conference, Tuesday, Oct. 8, at the Iowa State University Memorial Union. (An optional pre-conference opportunity is Monday, Oct. 7.) All office professionals are encouraged to attend and connect with resources and peers from across the state. For detailed information and to register, please visit the conference website.
- Need volunteers? Call on Cyclones! Please fill out this form if you would like the ISU Alumni Association to help you reach Iowa State alumni and friends with volunteer opportunities in your county.
- Structured for Success virtual meetings begin Sept. 18. For all dates, times and the Adobe Connect link, go to the Structured for Success feedback page (for council access) and to MyExtension (for staff). A new FAQ addresses common themes from questions and comments we have received so far. An archive of all FAQs also is available.
— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Vice President for Extension and Outreach