Pottawattamie County Supports Affordable Housing Plans in Council Bluffs

Posted May 25, 2023
Posted by: Public Relations

Pottawattamie County, Iowa – More affordable housing options will soon be available in Council Bluffs, thanks in part to actions taken by Pottawattamie County officials more than twenty years ago.

At the County Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, May 16th, representatives from non-profit organizations The 712 Initiative and Habitat for Humanity of Council Bluffs discussed their plans to expand affordable housing options at the intersection of South 8th Street and First Avenue. The idea began in 2002, with a deed of property from Pottawattamie County to the Pottawattamie County Development Corporation, now operating as The 712 Initiative. The intended purpose of the agreement was to provide housing for developmentally disabled individuals and County Supervisors passed a resolution to limit the development of the property to the intended purpose of the transfer. More than twenty years later, the needs of the Council Bluffs community have changed, increasing the importance of providing more affordable housing. At the May 16th meeting, County Supervisors voted to approve a new resolution, authorizing, and supporting the updated vision for the property, as The 712 Initiative will transfer the property to Habitat for Humanity for the construction of affordable housing.

“This project has come to us by way of a $1.6 million ARPA (American Rescue Plan Act) Grant we received through Iowa Finance Authority, that will finance the entirety of the acquisition and the construction of six town homes that we intend to build there,” said Blake Johnson, Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity. “The way we’re heading now, we’ll leverage that award of those six into probably a total of twelve town home units on that site.”  

In addition to addressing the housing needs of the community, coordinators hope the project also serves a great benefit to the aesthetics of the area.

“It would be a redevelopment of that entire corner, that I’m sure you’re aware as you drive by that corner, has been in much need of it for several years now,” said Johnson. “We’re excited to do it. This is just checking one box along the way.”

Qualified buyers of the affordable town homes will pay on typical 30-year mortgages, with Habitat for Humanity offering assistance for down payments, and in some cases solving for the gap between the amount needed for financing and the amount a buyer is approved to carry.

“712 has had (the property) for twenty years, but a project to fit that site hasn’t come before us,” said Lynn Dittmer, Director of Redevelopment for The 712 Initiative. “Finding lots in town is always a challenge, and this seemed like a really great opportunity.”

Site plans for the project are expected to be complete by early July, with hopes of breaking ground by early fall.

For more information on Habitat for Humanity, visit For more information on the 712 Initiative, visit

About Pottawattamie County: The purpose of Pottawattamie County government is to provide the highest quality government possible to the citizens of Pottawattamie County, Iowa, and other governmental entities in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible. It is also to encourage economic development, enhance our tax base and provide higher quality jobs for our citizens. For more information, visit

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