Joe Van Erdewyk is running for Ames City Council Ward 4 with the perspective of a young, hard-working renter who wants to create affordable housing.
Van Erdewyk graduated from Iowa State in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in history. He volunteers as a tutor at the Ames Public Library and works as a transit driver for CyRide.
“I fell in love with Ames when I came here in 2011,” Van Erdewyk said. “The community and people who call Ames home is truly something special.”
Van Erdewyk said his interest in politics began with his desire to find solutions within communities and understanding how issues impact people through personal connection.
“The Council really struggles to understand the way that their decisions impact people,” Van Erdewyk said. “Those decisions make it difficult to live in Ames and call Ames home if you don’t have a stable, well-paying job.”
A large part of Van Erdewyk’s campaign focuses on the affordable housing crisis in Ames.
“In 2014 I read the building and housing code,” Van Erdewyk said. “[It’s] not because I wanted to run for city politics or because I had a bone to pick with anyone, but because I was a resident who was paying too much of my income to rent.”
Van Erdewyk said he wants to create a way for single-family homes to be back on the market.
“The idea is to find ways to effectively target [single-family homes],” Van Erdewyk said. “A great example of how to do that is simply to bridge the information gap that exists.”
Van Erdewyk’s plan of action for affordable housing includes the Ames 2040 plan. The Ames 2040 plan is a comprehensive 20-year plan that gives a long term trajectory to where and how Ames can expand.
“There are young families and young professionals that would love to own a home in Ames,” Van Erdewyk said. “They can’t because the homes that are for sale right now are 350,000 dollar homes or up, and they stay on the market for 90 days or more; but any home that comes up for sale that’s below 250,000 dollars gets bought up in a heartbeat if it’s not completely dilapidated.”
Van Erdewyk said he plans to create a tight-knit community focused on the realities of housing for students, families and single adults.
“No one [is] out there doing the engagement with residents,” Van Erdewyk said. “So when I am a council member, that is exactly where my policies will always start — talking with residents, knowing what’s on their mind.”