Sunday, July 3, 2016

Making Prairie Hill Affordable

From the beginning of this project, social and economic diversity has been a primary value of ours. When we think of who we want as neighbors, it is important to us that we are not limited to people who have plenty of funds or who are all the same color or from the same culture. Instead, we are looking for people who resonate with the idea of a cooperative community and people who want to live as gently as possible in our ecosystem. We want people who are ready to have smaller homes since we will have a commonhouse for our overflow guests, for laundry, recreation, and frequent meals. And we want neighbors who are ready to accept and embrace differences in others. We want to pave the way toward living harmoniously in our neighborhood on Prairie Hill.

However, building new and building green is not cheap, especially in Iowa City. So we have put a lot of effort into finding ways of offsetting the costs of Prairie Hill Cohousing units. Carolyn Dyer has compiled a long list of sources of aid, and we will be glad to send you a copy of this by email. For this blog post, I especially want to alert you to some of the funds we have already acquired:

  • $50,000 for down-payment assistance from the Housing Trust Fund of Johnson County for three affordable homes
  • $6,250 tax credits for each of 15 units provided by the Iowa Workforce Housing Tax Incentive
  • From Johnson County Soil and Water Conservation District, 50% cost-share for the bioretention cell ($12,804)
  • And from the same agency, 20% cost share for soil quality restoration ($17,000)

In addition, there are a multitude of rebates on offer for solar installations and alternative energy, as well as funds for builders of homes heated and cooled by electricity (we have decided to use only electricity as a more sustainable energy source).

Also, a number of state and local agencies offer families and individuals assistance in buying homes: the Iowa Finance Authority, the 2016 Take Credit Mortgage Credit Certificate Program, the Federal Home Loan Bank, the Iowa City Affordable Dream Home Ownership Program, and the Iowa City Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) Homeownership Program.

The big message of this post is this: if you are attracted by the cohousing vision, wish you could live at Prairie Hill, but don't think you can afford it, you may be wrong. Check out your options, and let us help you. Come to our next Information Meeting, or contact us to get Carolyn's document on Sources of Funds (you can email me at 

1 comment:

  1. In many cohousing communities, members reduce their costs by sharing a home with a friend or relative, either by buying one together and splitting the expenses or by renting out a room or a floor in their home. Home sharing could provide live-in child care for a single parent or assistance with chores when an older resident shares a home with a student or other younger person.