The Rural Housing Assessment Grants program seeks to support the use of publicly available online information through the “Profile of Iowa” tool and rural community efforts to interpret this hard data with supplemental information as well as to implement through changes to development codes, local ordinances, and housing incentives specific to their community needs.
In partnership with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach’s Rural Housing Readiness Assessment workshops, funding from the program will empower communities to assess their current development environment and enact changes resulting in the creation of policies and procedures that are attractive to potential developers.
The program, defined in Iowa Administrative Code, is administered by the Center for Rural Revitalization, a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, in consultation with the Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Forces and the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach.
Eligible Use of Funding
The Rural Housing Assessment Grant Program provides funding for housing assessment data collection and the Iowa State University Extension & Outreach Rural Housing Assessment Readiness Workshop. Funds may be used to fulfill that process at the discretion of the grant recipient but must contribute to the completion of the housing assessment report, workshop, or implementation of the workshop outcomes within the contract period.
Local city and county governments, or federally recognized tribal governments physically located in Iowa are eligible. The government must exist in and benefit a community in Iowa with a population of 20,000 or fewer and not contiguous to a city with a population of 40,000 or greater. County-wide projects must be one of the 88 least-populous counties in Iowa.
Eligible Project Requirement
Requirements for Rural Housing Assessment Interpretation & Implementation grant awards include, but are not limited to the following:
- Applicants must demonstrate the capacity for grants administration.
- Applications must demonstrate the feasibility of completing the proposed activities with the funds requested and contract period.
- Applications must identify and describe any other sources of funding for the proposed activities.
- Applications must provide $5,000 cash match for each city or county partnering on the application.
- Applications must agree to utilize information available on the Iowa Profile tool.
- Applications must agree to contract with Iowa State University Extension & Outreach for the facilitated Rural Housing Assessment Readiness Workshop.
- Applications must identify any additional partner organizations that will be utilized in additional data collection or implementation processes.
- Applications must form a local Housing Committee.
Grant Request Amount
Grant Recipients will be awarded up to $10,000 per city or county that is partnering on the application to support expenses incurred within the eligible funding period. For example, if the application includes three cities, the grant award will be up to $30,000. If the application includes one county and two cities, the award would also be up to $30,000. A portion of the total project cost must be used to contract with ISU Office of Extension and Outreach for the Rural Housing Assessment Readiness Workshop. The workshop price is dependent upon the number of communities involved.
Applicants are required to demonstrate investment in the project process by providing a minimum of $5,000 per city cash match. The cash match must be secured, dedicated to eligible expenses, a legitimate part of the project and must be expended within the eligible funding period. The $5,000 match requirement may be raised through a combination of public and private sources but may not include in-kind donations of goods or services, unsecured funding or loans.
- Cash match constitutes actual cash contributed to direct project expenses by the applicant or other funding sources.
- Funding from state government that is already being used as match from another program, including other funds from the Iowa Economic Development Authority, cannot be used to meet the match requirement.
All project activities and incurred expenses must occur within the eligible contracted funding period of July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022. Funding is awarded to grant recipients on a reimbursement basis after expenses have been incurred for approved project activities within the eligible funding period. Expenses that are incurred before or after the eligible funding period are not eligible for reimbursement.
Online Application Submission
Applicants must submit applications via IowaGrants, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants must create a login to view the full application for the program.
Applications will be reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility, and adherence to published guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered. Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review by a volunteer panel that will include Governor’s Empower Rural Iowa Initiative Task Force members, Iowa State University Extension & Outreach staff, and expert professionals (Grant Review Committee). The Grant Review Committee reserves the right to recommend conditional funding and partial funding. Funding recommendations will be submitted by the Grant Review Committee to the Director of the Iowa Economic Development Authority for consideration and approval. The applicant’s authorized official will receive award notification. All funding decisions are final.
Applications must demonstrate evidence of the following:
- Applicant is an eligible candidate
- Funding request meets eligible project and expense requirements
- Request includes proof of $5,000 cash match per city or county partnering on the application for grant request
- Project duration does not exceed contract period
- Application is complete and submitted through IowaGrants.gov
- Applicant local city governments or federally recognized tribal governments physically located in Iowa
Extra consideration is provided to applications that have projects supporting housing initiatives endorsed by the Iowa Great Places Citizen’s Advisory Board (Additional 5 points added to score total) as well as those located in a community of 10,000 or fewer (Additional 5 points added to score total).
Additional information, including guidlines and factsheets are available on the Empower Rural Iowa web site at https://www.iowaeconomicdevelopment.com/empowerruraliowa