Open House for Current Registered Child Care Providers and Those Interested in Becoming a Registered Child Care Provider

Location: Washington Elementary, 406 East Madison Ave. Fairfield
When: Wednesday, January 9th, 2019
6p.m. -7 p.m.

The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, and the Fairfield Economic Development Association to host an open house for .those interested in becoming a home-based child care provider, and those already providing child care in their home.

A Child Care Nurse Consultant is a free service that provides support and resources. I can help with special needs care planning, immunization questions, in addition to any health and safety questions. I can work with providers to obtain points for the quality rating system. I am also certified to inspect playgrounds. I provide trainings to help with the required training hours. I can also do a handwashing training with the children in care. For more information, please contact mandi@jeffcoph.com

Child Care Resource and Referral (CCR&R) provides resources and education to support quality child care, including consultation and training for new and existing child care providers. Child Care Consultants can assist you with starting a child care business, meeting the Department of Human Services (DHS) regulations, applying for Iowa’s Quality Rating System (QRS), and any other questions you may have regarding child care. CCR&R also provides the registration application for new child care providers and can help you become registered with DHS. For more information, please contact jledger@caeiowa.org

New Child Care Business Kits. CCR&R worked with our DHS partners to develop a business kit to provide you with information on 4 topics critical to your growth and success as a child care provider. This opportunity is specifically designed for newly registered providers or those in the process of becoming registered. Thanks to partnership with Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk ECI, grant funding will allow providers who commit to 4 on-site consultation visits to receive up to $250 in resources for your child care program. During each visit, the provider will work 1 on 1 with an experienced child care consultant to better your business and increase the quality of care you provide. This program is funded by Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa. For more information, please contact Chelsea Van Daele cvandaele@caeiowa.org

The Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) is funded by the USDA and works to combat hunger. CACFP serves over 4,000,000 children with healthy meals & snacks and is an indicator of quality child care. The CACFP encourages healthy meals and snacks to be served by child & adult care providers. Benefits of being a CACFP provider are financial reimbursement on groceries, education & training on healthy eating, tools & resources to use every day, and support from the entire child nutrition community. Requirements to be in the program in Iowa are that you are a registered child care home with your county Department of Human Services and that you are signed up with the local agency who sponsors the CACFP. For more information contact Glori Headley Johnson or Julie Pitzl at Sieda Community Action 641-682-8741 or gjohnson@sieda.org or jpitzl@sieda.org.

T.E.A.C.H. Early Childhood® IOWA (Teacher Education and Compensation Helps) assists childcare providers throughout the state to increase their professional development through sponsored scholarships. Several scholarship models (or choices) exist for family child care home providers, child care teachers, directors, and part day preschools or program providers. Program administered by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. For more information, please contact http://www.iowaaeyc.org

Child Care WAGE$® IOWA is a nationally licensed program currently funded in 37 counties across the state. WAGE$ provides salary supplements to childcare providers based on their levels of education and contingent upon continued work in their current eligible program. In doing so, WAGE$ seeks to increase education rates for staff, reduce turnover rates for early education programs, and improve the quality of care for children. Program administered by the Iowa Association for the Education of Young Children. For more information, please contact jocee@iowaaeyc.org

Media Contact:
Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties
iowajeffersonkeokukeci@gmail.com

 

 

 

Current Home Child Care Provider Incentive Program for Jefferson County

Fairfield, Iowa (December 20th, 2018) The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee to offer a new incentive program to anyone currently operating a registered child care program in their home Participants in the program can receive up to $2,500 in incentives. There are currently seven registered child care programs in Jefferson County.

Home-based child care businesses enrolled in the incentive program, will need to work with Child Care Resource and Referral and the Jefferson County Child Care Nurse Consultant to begin an application. The new incentive program will provide the following tiered-incentives:

Requirement:                                                                                                      Incentive:

  • Registered Provider to Level 1 on the Quality Rating System              $500.00
  • Go From a Level 1 To Level 2 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00
  • Go From a Level 2 To Level 3 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00
  • Go From a Level 3 To Level 4 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00
  • Go From a Level 4 To Level 5 on the Quality Rating System                $500.00

                                                                                                       $2,500.00 Total Incentive

“Our goal is to retain current home-based child care businesses in the Fairfield community. Home-based child care businesses will be eligible for incentive payment once they complete the quality requirements,” said Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Iowa/Keokuk/Jefferson Early Childhood Iowa.  “Iowa has lost 40% of its child care providers in the last five years.  In 2011, Jefferson County had 36 providers. By 2018, the number of providers has decreased to 14.”

This incentive program is in response to the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee’s three-tiered approach to addressing the child care shortage in the Fairfield Community:

• Assist Existing Child Care Business to Expand Services
• Recruit and Retain New Home-Based Child Care Businesses
• Open a New Child Care Facility in Fairfield

There will be an open-house informational session for current home-based child care providers and for those interested in starting a new home-based child care program on January 9, 2019, at 6 p.m. at Washington Elementary School Gym.  Snow date is January 16, 2019.

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “The committee is making consistent progress on assisting with the creation of more child care spaces, addressing affordability and improving the quality of care. The partnership between Early Childhood Iowa, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee and economic development, we think, has been key.”

Contact’s to learn more:

Mandi Lauderman, Jefferson County Public Health
County Child Care Nurse Consultant
641-472-5929
mandi@jeffcoph.com

Julie Ledger, Child Care Resources & Referral
Child Care Consultant
jledger@caeiowa.org

Media Contact:

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties
iowajeffersonkeokukeci@gmail.com

New Home Child Care Provider Incentive Program for Jefferson County

 

Fairfield, Iowa (October 12th, 2018) The Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Board is collaborating with the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee to offer a new incentive program to anyone wishing to start a new child care program in their home or to become a registered child care home provider if they are already caring for children in their home. Participants in the program can receive up to $3,500 in incentives.

Home-based child care businesses enrolled in the incentive program, will need to work with Child Care Resource and Referral and the Jefferson County Child Care Nurse Consultant to begin an application. The new incentive program will provide the following tiered-incentives:

Requirement:                                                                        Incentive:

  • Become a DHS Registered Provider                                      $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 6 months                    $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 12 months                  $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 18 months                  $500.00
  • Remain a DHS Registered Provider 24 months                  $500.00
  • Become A Level 1 on Quality Rating System                        $500.00
  • Become A Level 2 on Quality Rating System                        $500.00

                                                                        $3,500.00 Total Incentive

“Our goal is to recruit five new home-based child care businesses in the Fairfield community by July 1, 2019. Home-based child care businesses will be eligible for incentive payment once they complete the quality and longevity requirements,” said Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Director for Iowa/Keokuk/Jefferson Early Childhood Iowa.

This new incentive program is in response to the committee’s three-tiered approach to addressing the child care shortage in the Fairfield Community:

• Assist Existing Child Care Business to Expand Services
• Recruit and Retain New Home-Based Child Care Businesses
• Open a New Child Care Facility in Fairfield

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association said, “The work the steering committee has completed in the last few months has created a notable awareness in the community around the need for additional, quality and affordable child care spaces. We are not the only community in Iowa with a shortage of child care spaces, though in conversations on the state level, we are essentially forging the road in Fairfield with our strategic process. This new incentive is a helpful and measurable step towards closing the gap.”

The opportunity to create a thriving community by retaining, attracting and engaging families in the area depends on the availability of high quality, affordable, childcare. In an April 2018 survey in Jefferson County, 438 current and future parents articulated their challenges and desires regarding childcare. One take away from this survey is that, if a family can find affordable, high-quality child care, when they need it, they will stay in the school district, buy a home in the area, seek employment, patronize local businesses, and participate in community events. Child care is an important part of a community’s infrastructure; it is as critical as the built infrastructure.

In the first quarter of 2018, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance of Des Moines to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Jefferson County. The Child Care Market Analysis showed there are shortages in the number of child care slots for two-year old’s, and for full-day, full-year preschool for three and four-year old’s. Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or a registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

There will be incentive information forthcoming for existing Registered Home-Based Providers.

 

Contact’s to learn more:

Mandi Lauderman, Jefferson County Public Health
County Child Care Nurse Consultant
641-472-5929
mandi@jeffcoph.com

Julie Ledger, Child Care Resources & Referral
Child Care Consultant
jledger@caeiowa.org

Media Contact:

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson, Early Childhood Iowa
Director for Iowa, Keokuk and Jefferson Counties
iowajeffersonkeokukeci@gmail.com

 

Pekin Child Care Center Expands Infant Care

This month, Pekin Child Care Center will be expanding the child care services and adding 12 infant spaces.

The center currently serves 168 children and once the 12 new spaces open, this will bring the total number of children served to 180.

Currently, Pekin Child Care Center has:

  • An infant room for children for 6 weeks of age to 1-years-old.
  • A transition room for children age 1-years-old to age 2-years-old.
  • A multi-age room serving ages 2-years-old to 5, a room structured similar to preschool, to meet each child’s developmental needs.
  • They also offer traditional preschool that serves 4-year-olds and also offer before and after school care to school age children.

 

Currently, the center employs 24 staff members and they will be adding one additional full-time staff person to support the expansion and some part-time staff will also transition to full-time.

Co-directors of the Pekin Child Care Center, Janet Conger and Gina Swearingen, and Administrator Kim Ledger expressed the expansion was driven by the center’s waiting list for infant spaces. They have had expecting parents reaching out to them for a spot on their waitlist. With this, they said the twelve expansion spaces are already filled.

The Pekin School District had an existing building on their campus that historically had many uses over the years, though most recently was unused, making the building available to be repurposed. The school district donated the building to the Pekin Child Care Center and it was relocated directly adjacent to the existing center. The building has been under renovation this past summer and is now completed. Conger, Swearingen and Ledger worked with the Department of Human Services and the Iowa State Fire Marshall’s to meet building code requirements for the renovation of the building. The cost of the project was supported by private donations, the Pekin School District’s SAVE (Secure and Advanced Vision for Education) and sales tax dollars as well as center funds.

Looking forward, the leadership plans to expand the transition room for children age 1-year old to age 2-years old in the next few months to accommodate children as they age out of the infant room.

The Pekin Child Care program started in 1991 and moved to its current location in 2001 and began their infant program that same year. They have a level four out of five on the Iowa Quality Rating System and the infant staff receives PITC [Program for Infant and Toddler Care] training through Child Care Resource and Referral. The center also participates in the Iowa Positive Behavior Support Program.  This sets child expectations of behaviors, rules to operate by, and provides teachable moments to support appropriate behaviors. Finally, they participate in the State Child Care Assistance Program and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Preschool Scholarship Program to assist families with costs of tuition.

Kim Ledger said, “Pekin Childcare is committed to providing a quality service to the community. We take great pride in our long history of quality ratings and strive to develop programs that developmentally meet the needs of all the children we serve. We are supported by the Pekin School District, local businesses, and families who also strive to improve the greater community.  We are pleased to be in a position to expand our daycare facility in response to our community’s needs.”

Pekin Child Care Center has a long-term relationship with Indian Hills Community College to provide field experience for their Early Childhood Education Program.  They also work with the Pekin School District on a cross-age mentoring program for high school juniors and seniors that pair them with a child at the center.

The Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Fairfield and Jefferson County.  The Child Care Market Analysis showed there is a shortage of 137 infant spaces in Jefferson County. Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or a registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

Pekin Child Care Center is serving 39 families with 57 children employed in Fairfield and they are serving 24 families with 38 children, living in Jefferson County.  In total, the center serves 95 children whose parents work in Fairfield or Jefferson County.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson said, the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Board, “is looking forward to continuing to partner with Pekin Child Care Center to assist them with their expansion. Their expansion to provide quality early education and care to children helps to meet the child care challenges in Fairfield.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association stated, “Pekin Child Care Center has been providing quality care for families working in Fairfield for many years. Although we have work to do to create additional spaces in the area, the expansion of these 12 infant spaces is very helpful in reducing the gap that we are experiencing. The center’s successful growth over the years, including this expansion, is a testament to the center’s leadership.”

For more information about Pekin Childcare Center’s services, contact:

Co-directors, Janet Conger and Gina Swearingen
641-661-2028

 

Maharishi School Children’s House Expands Preschool and Child Care Services

Maharishi School Children’s House is expanding their child care and preschool services at the start of the new school year, by adding 24 new spaces for children.

They will now offer child care and preschool services to fifty-nine children this fall, compared to 35 spaces in the 2017-2018 school year.

Their new expansion will now have one classroom serving sixteen children ages eighteen months to three-year-old.  They will have two classrooms serving forty-three children ages three-year-old to six-years-old.  They will also be adding eight children to their afternoon program.  This will expand full-day services to forty-two children. The expansion of services has resulted in hiring additional staff.

Michelle Svenson was recently hired as the new director of the Maharishi School Children’s House.  She started with Maharishi School Children’s House in January 2015 and served as an assistant teacher and lead teacher before assuming responsibilities as the director in June 2018.  Maharishi School Children’s House is a licensed center with the Department of Human Services and the child care and preschool services are open to anyone in the general public. They also participate in the State Child Care Assistance Program and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Iowa Preschool Scholarship Program to assist families with costs of tuition.

Michelle Svenson, said, Maharishi School Children’s House offers a unique Montessori style classroom and an Arbor Day Foundation Nature Explore playground. “The Montessori classroom is filled with a pleasant ‘hum’ as the children are working and playing. Each room is filled with concrete materials that teach the children abstract concepts. Children are free to choose anything that is “available” on a shelf and know they can work with it as long as they like. They return it to the shelf when they are done. This environment grows capability, independence and a lifelong love of learning.”

Svenson also shared, “the certified Arbor Day Foundation Nature Explore playground allows the children all the space to collaborate, play, create and build. The free play that happens on our playground is the perfect complement to the Montessori classroom. Concepts of early consent, respectful listening, emotional intelligence and social problem solving allow children to thrive in our environment.”

Maharishi School Children’s House is currently in discussion about a further expansion in the school year 2019-2020, but have not yet galvanized the consideration.

In January 2018, the Jefferson County Child Care Steering Committee, the Fairfield Economic Development Association, and the Iowa/Jefferson/Keokuk Early Childhood Area Board commissioned First Children’s Finance to complete a Child Care Market Analysis to better understand the child care market in Jefferson County.  The Child Care Market Analysis showed there are shortages in the number of child care slots for two-year olds, and full-day, full-year preschool for three and four-year olds.  Parents that participated in the market study identified a licensed center or registered child care development homes as their most preferred options for providing care to their children.

Tammy Wetjen-Kesterson said, the Iowa Jefferson/Keokuk Board, “is looking forward to continuing to partner with Maharishi School Children’s House to assist them with their expansion. Their expansion to provide quality early education and care to children helps to meet the child care challenges in Fairfield.”

Joshua Laraby, Executive Director for Fairfield Economic Development Association, concluded with, “We see it essential to continue assisting in the facilitation of expanding child care services in the area. Child care services serve as vital infrastructure for growing and retaining our local workforce. Maharishi School Children’s House expanding their services will help address a segment of the gap we are currently experiencing in Jefferson County.”

 

For more information about services at Maharishi School Children’s School House, contact: 

Michelle Svenson, Director

michelleEsvenson@gmail.com

641-472-9400 x5100

Sandquist and Laraby Attend Non-Partisan Intergovernmental Affairs Conference at the White House Complex

Population and Household Incomes Growing in Jefferson County, Iowa

Last week the U.S. Census Bureau released various county-level figures from 2016 and the data shows Jefferson County has seen a 7.4 increase in population over figures released last year. Last year’s population estimate was 17,318, this year’s estimate is 18,090. The data, which is produced using estimations and isn’t quite as accurate as the full census conducted every 10 years, but it does show trends. The number of those families at or below the poverty level has decreased in the last year. In 2015 the estimated poverty rate was 15%, the latest figures show that number at 14%. The median household income has also risen over last year, figures show an average household income was $42,899 in 2015, that number is now $45,257. The change is consistent with micropolitan areas nationwide. In such areas, rent increased more than twice as often as it decreased. The data also includes median household property values, and Jefferson County shows a rise from $101,000 in 2015 to $110,700 in 2016 with 66.3% of the population owning their own home. The average rental rate this past year was $626. A complete breakdown of the mid-census numbers can found at census.gov

www.exploreseiowa.com/2017/12/12/census-numbers-show-growth-in-jefferson-county/

New Housing Development Proposed for Fairfield

 

 

 

March 27th, 2017

Press Release:

 

Neighborhood Builders and Developers, a group of local investors is planning to help fill the need for additional market rate housing in Fairfield with plans to break ground this spring on the first phase of what is anticipated to be a more than a forty-unit condo project. The Lincoln Court Subdivision will located on 13 acres just south of the South Gate Housing Subdivision in Fairfield on the intersection of Lincoln Ave and future Court St.

The first phase will consist of ten two and three-bedroom condos in two fourplexes and one duplex along the north side of Lincoln Ave. The group’s sales team Chris and Debbi Davis with Davis and Palmer Real Estate believes the group can hit the $150,000-$165,000 entry price point necessary to make the units affordable to many middle-class families in the area. Each condo will be single story with double garages and a Homeowners Association managing snow, grass and exterior building maintenance. Units are now available for presale and can be tailored to individual including the number of bedrooms, patios and kitchen cabinetry.

 

NBD Manager Steve Kramer states, “We have looked at the market and see the need for additional high quality condos. The condos are going to be higher quality than older housing options currently available and far lower maintenance.  We are working with the city on infrastructure improvements and are working through state incentive programs designed to encourage new market rate housing in rural Iowa.”

The group is currently working through rezoning and subdividing approximately 13 acres of property and plans to break ground shortly after completing the process this Spring.  The development will also make room for additional neighborhood commercial development along South Main and demolish two older houses east of Libertyville Rd and South Main. FEDA Director Josh Laraby notes, the announcement is great news for a city that has made new housing one of its top priorities.”

Those interested in further information on the project should contact Chris Davis at Davis & Palmer Realty at 641-472-5073. Special financing programs will be available through Iowa State Bank.

Resource for New Residents

FEDA is launching a new website, www.fairfieldlanding.com, for people moving or considering moving to Fairfield. Fairfieldlanding will help new residents identify housing, daycare and career opportunities.

Sep 10 2014 Fairfield Housing Survey Results

Fairfield Housing Survey Results

 

Table of Contents

Introduction……………………………………………………………………………………………………… 1

Survey Results…………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Living in Fairfield………………………………………………………………………………………………. 2

Commuting to Fairfield……………………………………………………………………………………… 2

Landlord Comments………………………………………………………………………………………….. 3

New Housing……………………………………………………………………………………………………. 4

Housing Concerns…………………………………………………………………………………………….. 6

Conclusion……………………………………………………………………………………………………….. 7

 

 

Introduction

 

The Fairfield Economic Development Association opened an online survey on August 5th, 2014 and closed it on September 3rd, 2014. During this four-week period, 414 people completed the survey, which is equivalent to 9.2% of Fairfield’s households. The survey respondents were primarily homeowners (70%), but also were renters (25%) or living with friends or family (3%). “Other” (2%) living situations included corporate housing and MUM provided housing. Additionally, 5% of the survey respondents self-identified as landlords.

 

Survey respondents spanned the complete range of mortgage/rental rates provided (See Table 1. Respondent Affordability). 54% fell within the $301 – $700 range.

 

Table 1. Respondent Affordability

 

# Answer

 

Response %
1 $0 – $300

 

31 9%
2 $301 – $500

 

93 27%
3 $501 – $700

 

94 27%
4 $701 – $1,000

 

63 18%
5 $1,000 – $1,500

 

48 14%
6 $1,500+

 

16 5%
Total 345 100%

 

 

 

 

 

Survey Results

 

Major Findings

 

  1. The majority of those surveyed were concerned or very concerned about the structural quality, visible appearance and affordability of housing in town.
  2. An estimated 300-500 people working in Fairfield are considering building a new home in the next 5 years.
  3. 54% of those surveyed define affordable housing payments as between $300-$700 while 37% are willing to pay $701 or more.
  4. Only 50% list single family home as their preferred housing type while 72% of homes in Fairfield are classified as such.

 

Living in Fairfield

 

34% of respondents live in the City of Fairfield, while 66% live outside the City. Of the 246 people living outside of the City, 71% cite “owning a home elsewhere” as the reason (See Table 2. “Why do you live outside of Fairfield?”).  Additional, write-in responses, included:

 

“I live in the country” or “I like the country” (7 responses)

 

“We looked in FF and couldn’t find good quality “upper middle or lower upper” category housing.  Thought of building and builder/contractors in FF are questionable if they respond at all.”

 

“Waiting for zoning to allow a smaller than currently allowed.”

 

“We built on a lot just outside City limits.”

 

Table 2. Why do you live outside of Fairfield?

 

# Answer

 

Response
1 I have family elsewhere

 

4
2 I already own a home elsewhere

 

95
3 Lack of affordable housing in Fairfield

 

15
4 Other

 

28

 

 

Commuting to Fairfield

 

Of the survey respondents, 41% commute to Fairfield for work (164 people). When asked “Why do you commute instead of living in Fairfield?” 119 of the commuters wrote in a response. These numbers are slightly misrepresentative, because as evidenced in the write in responses, some people were confused by the question. Responses included:

 

“I like to live in the country”

“We farm” or “Job in Fairfield is 2nd income. Live on farm.”

 

“I used to have an apartment here in Fairfield, and I paid more for rent monthly than I do currently for the mortgage on my house. Even with utilities and gas for my car, it is cheaper to live outside of Jefferson County than to live here.”

 

“I could never afford a house in Fairfield. Housing costs are high along with property taxes.”

 

“I live just outside the city limits in Jefferson County.  I have a 0.2mi commute to the city limits.  We purchased our house outside of the city limits because when we purchased in 2010, there were no houses in our price range or desired type of neighborhood.  There are several houses in Fairfield that “where” nice at one time, but are run-down.  In general, many of Fairfield’s neighborhoods are run-down or have a peppering of well-kept and not well-kept homes.  Not an enticing situation for perspective buyers.”

 

“It is hard to find affordable housing. What affordable housing there is, it quickly gets rented. Most rentals in Fairfield are either too expensive or they are junk.   My husband and I rented a house on North C Street for $500 per month. I’m not sure how that house passed fire inspection with the older appliances and wiring it had. Also, our heating bill was outrageous because the windows were very old and there were leaks in every single one. We had to put plastic on them. It was not worth $500/month.   We rented another place above Davis & Palmer Real Estate on the square about 4 years ago. That place also miraculously passed a fire inspection. Upon signing the lease, we also had to sign a form saying we would not seek legal action if we happened to consume any paint from the walls as they “may contain lead”.  I understand a lot of units are older, but sometimes updates are necessary – especially for renters with children.   That is why we commute to Fairfield instead of living IN Fairfield. We are renting a cozy house for $400 in Pleasant Plain. It is worth the rent money. Anything like it in Fairfield would, I am assuming, cost $600 + to rent.”

 

“noise pollution, light pollution, old houses in need of repairs and inadequate insulation. Also concerned about taxes in f.f. and high cost of electric and services.”

 

“Property values in Fairfield seem to be artificially inflated compared to surrounding areas.”

 

“COL in Fairfield is too expensive compared to salary they offer”

 

“I have been trying to relocate to Fairfield but the housing market is HORRIBLE!”

 

Landlord Comments

 

When landlords were asked, “What are the biggest challenges you face with renting and maintaining your property(s)?” write-in responses included the following”

 

“My Husband is a contractor and we would like to build affordable spec. homes and/or condos but the lot prices make it hard to build affordable first-time home owner properties. We only have two properties in Fairfield that we rent and are working on a duplex but what I hear from prospective tenants is that there just isn’t much out there, and what there is available is substandard.”

 

“Costs of renovating to make rentable. I would like to know exactly what people want out of a rental in terms of quality, appliances, size and Price.”

 

“Higher taxes when improving my home or rental, discourages improvement and upgrading appearance of  house in neighborhood”

 

“Properties require endless maintenance. I like to have well kept rentals. I have a good reputation.  Property taxes and insurance increase yearly and I can not raise the rents at the pace of the expenses.”

 

“Rent rates have been traditionally very low when compared to the costs of renovation or new construction.  This is shifting some but remains a challenge due to the high cost of building.  The demand for renting units has been strong and therefore has not been a challenge if the space is clean and charming plus priced competitively.”

 

“As a renter: uncooperative landlords, meaning you have to wait and wait and maybe you will get something fixed, but never everything that would bring the home up to a decent standard.    As a property manager: the advanced state of disrepair so that it is difficult to keep up with even the most urgent problems, in part because tenants don’t pay their rent, don’t honor leases, destroy property, etc.”

 

New Housing

 

36% of respondents are considering either buying or building a home within the next five years (see Table 3. Buying or Building).

 

Table 3. Buying or Building

 

# Answer

 

Response %
1 Yes, buying

 

92 25%
2 Yes, building

 

41 11%
3 No

 

234 64%
Total 367 100%

 

 

Respondents were also asked if within the past 5 years they had considered building, and if yes, what barriers they encountered. Barriers cited include:

 

“There are very few desirable lots available in town and most of those that are available are dramatically overpriced…$25,000. to $40,000. is crazy.”

 

“LAND IN TOWN IMPOSSIBLE TO FIND AND FIXER-UPPER HOUSES NO LONGER AVAILABLE – EITHER BOUGHT UP OR TOO RUN DOWN TO FIX UP OR PRICED WAY TOO HIGH TO FIX UP. COST OF NEW BUILDING IS HIGH. I’D LIKE TO SEE SMALL HOUSE SIZES APPROVED AS WELL.”

 

“We considered it before buying, but determined the cost was more efficient to buy if we were only sure we’d be there for 3-5 years and not building our dream home.”

 

“Finding quality contractors.  It appears many of the homes going up are manufactured/modular.”

 

“At one time we did consider building, as we were struggling to find suitable housing from what was available for sale.  There are very few available building lots in Fairfield on which to build a moderately-priced new home (in the $250-$300k range).  Again, a new development is sorely needed in our community.”

 

“We are looking to build a nice new house now, nothing huge, but estimates are coming in prohibitively expensive per square foot.  Over 50% more than like sized houses in larger cities where we’ve lived.  I don’t know if there is a builder shortage or materials are expensive to transport to SE Iowa, or what, but all the general contractors seem to have us wanna-be home builders over a barrel.  It’s causing us to reconsider building a home here or skimp on quality to make it affordable.  We’d love to build a nice 2200 square foot house that isn’t going to cost us over $350k!”

 

“We planned on building a house, but part of the decision not to build was based on lack of responsiveness of contractors in the area.  I was given 3 names by the local lumber yard.  After reaching out to all 3 several times, no one got back to me.”

 

“THERE ARE SEVERAL AREAS OF TOWN WHICH NEED ALLEYS CLOSED ETC. TO MAKE LOTS ON OLDER AREAS AVAILABLE TO BUILD ON. I THINK THAT IS WHY WE SEE SO MANY PEOPLE MOVING OUT OF THE MAIN PART OF TOWN.”

 

50% of respondents would like to see more single family homes (see Table 4. Preferred Housing Types). 45 respondents wrote-in “other” types of housing including “tiny homes,” “small homes,” “granny flats,” “smaller homes” (13 responses), as well as, “Affordable” and “A mix of all of the above.”

 

Table 4. Preferred Housing Types

 

# Answer

 

Response %
1 Apartments

 

49 14%
2 Single family homes

 

175 50%
3 Duplexes

 

24 7%
4 Town homes

 

46 13%
5 Other

 

53 15%
Total 347 100%

 

 

Regarding the location of new housing, 46% would like to see new housing in town, while 29% would like to see new housing near the Jefferson County Health Center (see Table 5. “Location of New Housing). 39 write-in responses included:

 

“Near Cambridge” (4 responses)

 

“No preference” (2 responses)

 

Table 5. Location of New Housing

 

# Answer

 

Response %
1 In town

 

159 46%
2 Around the square

 

21 6%
3 Near the Jefferson County Health Center

 

101 29%
4 Near Maharishi University

 

18 5%
5 Other

 

46 13%
Total 345 100%

 

 

Housing Concerns

 

Table 6, “Housing Concerns” shows respondents priorities regarding housing concerns. The highest number of respondents were “very concerned” with affordability of housing, but were “very” or “somewhat” concerned with the visual appearance of housing. 61 people wrote in responses to what they are concerned about regarding housing in Fairfield.  While answers ranged from community service preferences (where the new pool should be built) to gardening concerns (application of pesticides), five responses were regarding high property taxes; additional concerns are quoted below.

 

Table 6. Housing Concerns

 

 

# Question Very concerned Somewhat concerned Somewhat unconcerned Unconcerned Total Responses
1 Structural quality of housing in Fairfield 137 126 43 45 351
2 Visual appearance of housing in Fairfield 152 121 40 38 351
3 Affordability of housing in Fairfield 183 108 31 33 355
4 Other 55 6 4 20 85

 

“Availability of housing between $90k and $150k”

 

“condition of rental units, many of which are crummy”

 

“Lack of real apartments”

 

“Rental inspections should be replaced with a “Certified” designation to make the program less confrontational. Landlords could then advertise their certification as a plus.”

 

“Not enough modern homes”

Conclusion

 

The Fairfield Housing Survey reflects the housing needs assessment in that it shows a need for both new development and programs to address the current housing stock. Written in comments combined with the “living in Fairfield” and “commuting to Fairfield” sections of the survey results highlight the fact that many people could not find adequately affordable and quality homes in Fairfield. Adequate affordability seems to be a rental or mortgage payment of $300 – $700. Adequate quality has to do with energy efficiency/utilities, up-to-date housing basics such as solid roofing and foundation and regular maintenance. This re-enforces the results in the housing concerns section, which indicates that residents are most concerned by affordability and visual appeal of houses. There is a strong call for up-to-date modern housing as well as for bringing the existing housing stock up to par.