Local officials mull affordable housing, Rose Oaks

The+Johnson+County+courthouse+has+scheduled+a+construction+for+a+new+entrance+to+the+building.+The+Johnson+courthouse+has+been+a+part+of+Iowa+City+since+1901.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FGlenn+Sonnie+Wooden%29
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Local officials mull affordable housing, Rose Oaks

The Johnson County courthouse has scheduled a construction for a new entrance to the building. The Johnson courthouse has been a part of Iowa City since 1901. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

The Johnson County courthouse has scheduled a construction for a new entrance to the building. The Johnson courthouse has been a part of Iowa City since 1901. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

The Johnson County courthouse has scheduled a construction for a new entrance to the building. The Johnson courthouse has been a part of Iowa City since 1901. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

The Johnson County courthouse has scheduled a construction for a new entrance to the building. The Johnson courthouse has been a part of Iowa City since 1901. (The Daily Iowan/Glenn Sonnie Wooden)

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Local leaders came together Monday afternoon to discuss some of the pressing issues in Johnson County.

Various city councils and some school boards met with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors Monday evening in City Hall for a joint entities meeting.

City councilors from Iowa City, Lone Tree, North Liberty, Oxford, Shueyville, Solon, Swisher, Tiffin, University Heights and School Board members from Clear Creek and Iowa City attended.

Topics discussed included the Rose Oaks Apartment situation, updates from the Iowa City City Council on affordable housing, information from the supervisors about the minimum-wage increase, and the possible formation of a Crisis Intervention Team.

Iowa City interim City Manager Geoff Fruin started the meeting with the latest updates regarding Rose Oaks.

“We’ve been told by management that anybody with an expiring lease can stay until Aug. 1 and, according to management, nobody is getting kicked out,” Fruin said. “Around 40 households are being allowed to stay on the premise during the renovation.”

Fruin said a number of social-service agencies have recently come together to help tenants.

“The city contributed $15,000 to Shelter House to aid tenants, and $30,000 has come from Rose Oaks,” he said.

Fruin also discussed affordable housing, saying city staff is working with a number of groups to put together strategies.

Johnson County Supervisor Mike Carberry, touching on the Johnson County Hunger Task Force Report, said food insecurity is related to affordable housing in that people often prioritize housing payments over food.

“We have about 14 percent of the county that are food-insecure,” he said. “When people are housing-insecure, they have to spend their money first on their dwelling, because they can get some help with food but not as much help for the housing.”

Carberry said various groups coming together is essential in solving problems related to food insecurity and affordable housing.

“All these issues are related,” he said. “When we can all sit together and talk about it really come together and work on these issues.”

Johnson County’s minimum-wage ordinance was also discussed. The second increase is set to go into effect on May 1, raising the county minimum wage to $9.15.

Supervisor Janelle Rettig said the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee was formed to recommend concepts pertaining to the ordinance and to study a livable wage for the Johnson County area.

“We gave the committee very broad topics to address and we got a lot of diversity on the committee,” she said. “We also have two of the best economic researchers in Iowa, period.”

The Wage Committee has decided to meet once a month to discuss ideas and present statistics.

The supervisors also talked about the latest updates on Johnson County’s research into Crisis Intervention Team training, including a trip to San Antonio to learn about its program.

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