Iowa City tries to aid Rose Oaks tenants


The Rose Oaks Apartments are shown on Monday, April 11, 2016. Conflict between tenants and the landlords have arisen amidst the eviction of tenants before their lease is up. (The Daily Iowan/Schmit)

After much confusion and frustration, Iowa City has provided $15,000 to assist a local charity in providing shelter for residents of Rose Oaks Apartments.

The apartments, located on U.S. Highway 6, were home to around 400 mostly lower-income families. Only about 132 families remain after residents have been asked to vacate.

The manager of the property, the Tailwind Group, is planning to demolish four buildings and renovate the remaining 16 buildings in the neighborhood, in order to add eight new buildings by the fall of 2017. The owners have asked residents to vacate their apartments, offering an incentive of a returned security deposit, plus $500 to those who terminate their leases early.

However, a change in management caused confusion for residents as information was sent from both the old and new management.

“The Rose Oaks team came by, they said there was some miscommunication with the previous ownership, a lot of information that went out wasn’t information from the new management,” Iowa City Mayor Pro Tem Kingsley Botchway said.

Some of the residents were given as little as 30 days to leave their apartments, but many are facing challenges while looking for new housing, such as having low credit scores or criminal records. Dozens of residents protested at the city council meeting on April 5.

However, Botchway said, the new management did say they were willing to work with the residents who needed assistance, and the city is helping as well.

Botchway said Iowa City is providing $15,000 to the Shelter House, a local homeless shelter, to support them as it tries to meet the needs of these residents.

Crissy Canganelli, executive director of the Shelter House, said the Shelter House does not know what these needs are yet, but staff members are starting to establish some services for residents on site at the Rose Oaks property.

“Our staff has started meeting with the tenants that are indicating that they’re wanting some assistance in relocating,” Canganelli said. “We’re working with the city to develop some resources for that, and we’re identifying some other community partners we can work with to help work with those folks.”

The Shelter House provided emergency housing for more than 800 people in 2015; however, it may not have enough space to provide for the need from the Rose Oaks residents.

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