The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Council backs Rose Oaks aid

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By Austin Petroski

[email protected]

The Iowa City City Council agreed to provide assistance to the former residents of Rose Oaks at a work session prior to its formal meeting Tuesday evening.

The agreement came after numerous previous work sessions discussed the need for assistance for the large number of households displaced.

Many residents of the Rose Oaks apartment complex were forced to move out of their apartments on August 1 to make way for demolition, part of planned renovations by the new owners of the properties. Others have been moving out since March.

Councilors Rockne Cole and Kingsley Botchway provided proposals for the assistance.

Cole’s proposal called for providing $250 to each household that was displaced, calling for a total of $50,000 in total assistance to former residents. Cole’s proposal required tenants to have had a lease as of March 1 and had not been evicted.

Botchway’s proposal was similar to Cole’s on many points but differed particularly on how much each unit should receive. His proposal called for more money to be allocated for large apartments, while less to smaller units.

“This situation, this was a bad place to live for a lot of people; I feel morally obligated,” he said. “We should have done more.”

Councilor Susan Mims was against the idea of allocating money to Rose Oaks’ former tenants. She said the idea that this was compared to a natural disaster was wrong and that there are many other people who are also suddenly dislocated for various reasons.

She questioned the fairness of others not being given compensation simply because they are not a part of a large group being dislocated.

“It is important there is some definition of what constitutes a sudden dislocation,” she said.

Mayor Jim Throgmorton, who was in favor of providing assistance, had two principles which he felt the council should consider. One was to have a simple design and something easy to administer. Second, he cited the need for the money to be equally allocated to the residents.

“In my sense, $250 sounds reasonable, but there are some who have received and others who haven’t received any assistance,” he said, noting that some former residences had received money from Shelter House.

Councilor Pauline Taylor touched on how many of the residents were already in tough times.

“These folks were some of the most vulnerable in our city,” she said.

City Manager Geoff Fruin said the city had received a tenant list from Rose Oaks, helping to simplify the ability to identify former tenants. He said the city would send letters to the last known addresses of tenants, advising them of their ability to receive compensation.

The council voted 5-2 in favor of providing $250 in funds to former residents to assist them in their relocation, with the funds coming from the affordable-housing program. Mims and Councilor Terry Dickens voted against the proposal.

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