At Four Oaks, we believe that housing is a necessary foundation for life-long success. Without access to safe, stable and affordable housing, children and families can struggle to maintain gainful employment, attend school regularly, provide basic needs, and more.

By collaborating with our partnership agencies the Affordable Housing Network, Inc. and Jane Boyd Community House, we are able to provide reliable and affordable housing options for children and families across Iowa, including in Cedar Rapids and Dubuque.

We began work in the Wellington Heights area of Cedar Rapids following the devastating flood of 2008 that impacted hundreds of homes in the historic neighborhood.

AHNI acquired and remodeled more than 100 homes to reduce housing density, restore damaged homes, increase home ownership, and encourage individual, family and community success.

Four Oaks comes alongside many of these families through our TotalChild® model to provide additional support in maintaining stable employment, education, basic needs and more.

Now, we have launched the second phase of the Wellington Heights project starting in fall 2019. Our goal is to remodel an addition 12-15 homes in five years to further impact the neighborhood and the Cedar Rapids community.

Follow the process of one Wellington Heights home from an aging house in poor condition to a fully remodeled home suitable for a family to live in and thrive. This is one of multiple homes currently being remodeled by the Affordable Housing Network in the Wellington Heights Neighborhood in Cedar Rapids.

Join us here for the virtual open house!

Coming Summer 2020

Letter to the Editor: We must look forward


Hunter Skogman

Four Oaks and AHNI Board Member

These are trying times. As the world, our nation and state look to combat an invisible virus, the challenges for families in poverty are in full view; job loss, homelessness, mental health problems.

We must look forward. Four Oaks, the Affordable Housing Network, Inc. (AHNI), Wellington Heights Neighborhood Association (WHNA) and dozens of community partners have made gains with families – gains we do not want to see diminished.

The Wellington Heights neighborhood has a long, proud history as one of Cedar Rapids’ historic neighborhoods.In recent years, positive developments, like TotalChild® have taken place to make the neighborhood stronger.

The TotalChild® approach, is an ambitious goal; strengthen families in crisis through direct work and help them acquire permanent housing. While more than 1400 children in crisis have been helped, 100 properties in Wellington Heights have been rehabilitated.

That alone has increased single-family homeownership and improved the quality of properties and the lives of children and families in the neighborhood. Cedar Rapids Police Department statistics also show a 25 percent reduction in crime.

Having now exceeded the initial goal, Four Oaks, AHNI and community partners are planning the next phase of home revitalization. A “Report to the Community Gathering,” with key collaborators is planned early fall, where leaders will strategize the continuing steps.

The next phase involves improving an additional 12 to 15 properties over the next five years. This collaboration will remain focused on strengthening the community, making homeownership a possibility for more low/moderate income families, and increasing the growing pride in the neighborhood.

These efforts are not possible without the steadfast support from the City of Cedar Rapids along with the work of community leaders and partnerships. Due to the dedication and commitment from everyone involved, Wellington Heights’ proud history as one of Cedar Rapids historic neighborhoods will continue to grow and flourish and our children and families will all benefit.

Submitted to The Gazette, April 2020