Last Fall, I went on the Polk County Housing Trust Fund’s (PCHTF) bus tour through Des Moines’ Urban Core and it completely opened my eyes to the housing challenges of our community. Even though I live in Pleasant Hill (aka, The Upper East Side), what happens in Des Moines’ Urban Core affects all of us that live nearby.
The Polk County Housing Trust Fund organizes three bus tours per year and they’re different every time. April 2013’s bus tour took place during Affordable Housing Week and was sponsored by DART. PCHTF and DART’s mission is to help educate community leaders about the relationship between quality public transit and affordable housing.
We looked at affordable housing options along DART’s new Route 60, which is likely to become the metro’s first Bus Rapid Transit line.
DART considers addresses within ¾ mile of a route to have “bus service”. A significant portion of the community’s affordable housing inventory is within this area (sadly, my home does not have bus service).
A topic that has come up on both of the bus tours I’ve been a part of us gentrification. While it’s great that a significant portion of the community’s affordable housing inventory is within bus service range, it’s a warning for affordable housing advocates who know that improved public transit access means rising rents and property values which may push existing renters and home owners out of their neighborhoods.
If you want to learn more about your community, I highly recommend participating in one of these bus tours. Their next tour is on July 19th at 9am. Just email Carol Duncan to register. It’s FREE!