Briefs

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Construction Brief:

ROADS

Northbound traffic on Gilbert Street between College and Washington streets has been reduced to one lane while electrical work is being done. Normal traffic should resume Friday.

Eastbound traffic on Iowa Avenue has been reduced to one lane near the overhead railroad crossing between Madison Street and Riverside Drive/Highway 6. This lane reduction will begin every day at 9:00 a.m. Normal traffic should resume by Oct. 14.Construction on Washington Street continues as part of the Washington Streetscape Project. This work should be finished Oct. 30.

As part of the City of Iowa City Complete Streets Policy, a pavement-marking project which includes creating bike lanes on Sycamore Street, is expected to begin the week of Oct. 10. This two-week-long construction project will narrow the northbound, southbound, and two-way left turn lanes in order to create a five-foot bike lane on both sides of the street. This lane will extend from the city limits to Highway 6 on Sycamore Street, and will connect the bike lanes created on Sycamore Street in 2015. Traffic will be maintained, but drivers should expect delays.

Construction for the Iowa City Gateway Project has reduced Dubuque Street to one lane of traffic in each direction between Foster Road and Ronalds Street. These lane reductions, as well as the construction on Park Road Bridge, will continue throughout the duration of the project, which is expected to be completed July 2018. Access to all residences, Terrell Mill Park, and Mayflower Residence Hall are being maintained.

 

 

BUSES

The North Dodge and North Dodge Night & Weekend bus routes are not servicing Northgate Drive. Passengers can catch their bus at stop 7521.

While detours for the Westport and Oakcrest Night & Weekend bus routes remain in effect, stops 8000 through 8005 on Riverside Drive are not being serviced.

Inbound stops 8206 and 8207 on Hawkins Drive are closed for the Plaen View, Westside Hospital, Westwinds, and Westwinds Night & Weekend bus routes. There are temporary stops on Melrose Avenue just after the Railroad Bridge, and on Hawkins Drive just past Stadium Drive inbound to downtown.

 

 

Housing Brief:

The Iowa City City council approved changes and clarifications at Tuesday’s meeting which will impact the amount of housing assistance provided to low-income residents.

 

Four amendments to the Iowa City Housing Authority’s Housing Choice Voucher Program (HCVP) Administrative Plan were passed.

 

The first approved change dealt with the creation of a special admission for participants in the Frequent Users System Engagement (FUSE) Housing First Initiative. The Johnson County Local Homeless Coordinating Board and the Iowa City Housing Authority (HA) worked together to propose the special admission.

 

According to the memorandum on the changes to the HCVP which was included in the agenda packet for Tuesday’s meeting, a special admission “requires the completion of a preliminary application. The applicant is placed on the waiting list as a “Targeted Applicant,” meaning they proceed directly into the HCVP eligibility determination process. … FUSE assists chronically homeless individuals who are the most frequent users of high cost services at public expense.”

 

The second adjustment made was introduced as a result of a notice released by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development. This recommendation was an updated version of a memo originally released in 2013, and dealt with implementing changes to low-income housing assistance programs.

 

Specifically, the notice concerned changes to income determination and rent calculation. The amendment, which the Council approved, changes the guidelines for these processes.

 

Program participants are now required to report all their economic assets, regardless of the total amount. Assets must also be verified with third party documentation every third year. Also, self-declaration for assets under $5,000 is acceptable for years one and two.

 

It is anticipated that these changes will reduce the HA’s operating costs and staff burden.

 

Changes to the HCVP also included how the HA decides utility allowances as part of its Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) calculation. In the past, this allowance was determined by the size of the unit actually being leased.

 

Now, however, the lesser size of the actual leased unit is used to determine this amount. This means that if somebody has a three-bedroom unit voucher, but rents a two-bedroom unit, the utility amount allowance for the two-bedroom unit will be used.

 

Meanwhile, if someone rents a two-bedroom unit but only has a one-bedroom voucher, only the one-bedroom voucher amount will be provided.

 

Finally, the amendments include a clarification by the the HA in how the HAP amount is affected by a voluntary leave of absence from employment. The change clarifies that most temporary leaves, such as a vacation leave, will not result in a change in assistance money. However, leaving for continuing education will result in a change in the HAP amount.

 

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