Matt Hauge

Sixth Avenue Flats provides a unique mix of housing and services for young adults who have aged out of foster care and others in Des Moines, Iowa.

The 42-unit development is just one block from the Des Moines Area Community College, which is providing enrollment opportunities and other services to the former foster-care residents. In addition, GreenState Credit Union has an office in the building to offer financial management services to residents and the neighborhood, and youth-serving nonprofit YSS also has an on-site office.

“This is really a collaborative effort,” says Jack Hatch, principal of Hatch Development Group, noting that the different partners are working together to combine housing, education, and supportive services to uplift the residents.

A minimum of five units are reserved for homeless foster youths, but Sixth Avenue Flats has gone beyond that with about 10 units serving young adults, according to Hatch.

Matt Hauge

Sixth Avenue Flats has a mix of one-, two-, and three-bedroom homes, including six live-work lofts on the street level. The units are reserved for residents earning no more than 30% and 80% of the area median income.

The $9.2 million development is also important to the overall neighborhood, replacing a troubled vacant lot in the urban core, according to co-developer Michael Kiernan, principal of Kiernan Development and Construction.

The lot had become a notorious spot for drug deals over the years, so few developers would touch the property. However, Hatch, a former state senator, and Kiernan, a former city council member, saw an opportunity to tackle multiple problems with their project.

“Sixth Avenue Flats not only serves a need with affordable housing and supportive services, but it is also meaningful for sparking the Sixth Avenue Corridor’s redevelopment,” Kiernan says.