We partner with cities, developers, and individual homeowners to directly address housing needs in our region. Our experienced housing staff also works with two housing trust funds to expand affordable housing opportunities in their service areas through a wide range of housing activities from preservation to new construction.
ECICOG’s staff are skilled planners, with expertise ranging from community engagement to construction management. ECICOG can perform housing studies at many levels, from informal readiness assessments to full studies of existing stock and market forces, to determine the best path forward for housing development. Staff can also help cities develop and administer programs to use funds resulting from residential TIF districts. For cities that want to proactively maintain city code compliance, ECICOG can help manage inspections, letters, and follow-ups.
Homes for Iowa
Iowa’s Council of Governments helped to develop the Homes for Iowa program, through which inmates at the Newton Correction Facility are trained in construction trades while constructing affordable homes. These “stick built” homes are available for transport around the state. ECICOG assists with Homes for Iowa placement within our region. A webinar about the program is available on YouTube at
Grant Writing & Administration
Housing is an increasingly important topic of conversation throughout much of our region. We are able to help communities meet their housing goals or bring new ideas to life through grant identification, application, and requirements management. From one-time sources like disaster relief funding to recurring programs like the Federal Home Loan Bank's Affordable Housing Program, or Iowa Finance Authority's and Iowa Economic Development Authority's housing programs, ECICOG is familiar with a large variety of funding opportunities for housing programs.
ECICOG is currently accepting applications on an ongoing basis for several programs. Owner-occupied rehabilitation programs are offered throughout ECICOG's 6-county region by each housing trust fund. Income limits vary by county, and only low-to-moderate income homeowners living in the home as their primary residence are eligible to apply. ECICOG also administers an owner-occupied housing rehabilitation program for the City of Palo. The program guidelines and application for that program is shown below.
Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners (PATCH) Program
ECICOG and Housing Fund for Linn County, along with area non-profits, are working to assist low to moderate income homeowners with needed repairs caused by the derecho. Providing Assistance to Community Homeowners (PATCH) was launched in November 2020 to provide financial assistance and construction management support.
Housing Trust Funds
A housing trust fund is a community-based non-profit organization dedicated to supporting and promoting affordable housing. ECICOG administers two Housing Trust Funds: Housing Fund for Linn County and East Central Iowa Housing Trust Fund. Tracey Achenbach, ECICOG’s Housing and Community Development Director, serves as Executive Director for both.
ECICOG assists communities with nuisance enforcement by visually assessing properties for any nuisance violations, per the city priorities and the city code. ECICOG proactively conducts the inspections and sends non-compliance letters, then follows up to confirm compliance, relieving city staff of this time-consuming task.
Studying Local Homelessness