Perpetuating poverty

Cities like Ames, Iowa by virtue of their lack of imagination with zoning help keep people in poverty. The person of limited means naturally gravitates to low cost housing (above). $15,000 and its yours. So what. You’re typically left renting a lot from a slumlord like Flummerfelt. They may ‘own’ their home, but they’re not able to save any money for upgrades or repairs because they’re paying $400 dollars a month lot rent!

With conventional housing you have options. Small lot, big lot, new part of town, old part of town, new house, old house. Rent or own. With trailers you’re stuck, you rent. Forever. 

There is absolutely no reason a city couldn’t change this. Next time they incorporate some new land stipulate what it would be developed for. They do it all the time whether its for apartments, housing or commercial. Those bastards in Ames even put a moratorium on apartments in the old town where they actually need them! By their zoning they continue to force apartment construction to the west side where nobody wants them! The jobs are downtown!

I realize to actually do something for the people they’d have to separate themselves from the money nipple of the land developer. I realize they’d actually have to engage their brain and have a little foresight. They’d rather continue to enrich the 1% at the expense of the working class. Its absurd. If your typical lot size for new housing is 80′ x 120′, for a mobile home it would be 48′ x 100′.

Half of the new development instead could be setup for putting homes on a foundation. The developer would still be putting in the roads, utilities and landscaping. In fact a section of it could also be assigned for ‘mini-homes’. Foundations for some, complete new mini homes for others or built to various levels of finish. There are all kinds of innovations to be realized.

Name me a community of any size that isn’t dealing with a “homeless problem”? That doesn’t have a  working group or planning committee dealing with homelessness? Its ridiculous. A private/public partnership could have the homeless working off their new homes by building them! Learn a trade and self-worth all while finding a place to live!  

The new developments in modular/panel home construction make them Childs play to assemble. Not only that, but with metal stud framing and roll or panel roofing, they’re permanent! Not like the designed obsolescence of stick built with among other problems the asphalt shingle requiring a new roof every 20 years. Think of the environmental cost of that?

Jim Roach


A row of mini homes. They typically run 12′ x 20′, but they certainly don’t have to be that size. The materials cost averages out to be $15,000. Think of that. Putting that 240 square feet on a foundation doubles it to 480. Add a second floor and you have 720 sq. ft. This concept could also be promoted for the smaller ‘carbon footprint’ of the reduced living spaces with out of this world insulation possibilities and dedicated solar energy and rainwater collection! The pride of home ownership improves any community. The easiest thing to spot driving down a street is the rentals. You can always spot it by slipshod condition of the house and the cluttered yard. By allowing people to buy the property instead of rent it you allow for upward mobility. You quit locking people into poverty. The problem of course is that government isn’t about solving problems, its about growing the size of government.

About Iowa Life

Experiencing life in Iowa.
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