The Iowa City City Council approved a financial decision to provide housing and jobs to low and moderate-income Iowa City residents.
This decision is a part of the city’s Fiscal Year 2023 Action Plan and will be funded by the Community Development Block Grant and the Home Investment Partnerships Program, which are awarded every year by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Through the Fiscal Year 2023 Action Plan, the money will be divided to fund different projects. The Home funds are being recommended to be used for the city to acquire rental affordable housing for residents. The Community Development Block Grant award is being recommended to fund an improvement project for the Free Medical Clinic and a shelter for the Domestic Violence Intervention Program.
Erika Kubly, neighborhood services coordinator, at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, said the projects can begin once the action plan has been approved by Iowa City’s Housing Authority.
“The annual action plan outlines how we are going to spend Community Development Block Grant and HOME funding in the upcoming fiscal year to meet the goals and priorities in city steps 2025[an outline for housing and community developments],” said Kubly.
In order to be approved for this money city staff needs to compile an action plan, detailing exact ways to use said money. The total amount of money available to the city is $1.936 million with the Community Development Block Grant funds decreasing from last year’s and the HOME funding increasing by $30,000.
One of the projects is a Neighborhood Improvement Program which will assist 300 persons, households or facilities. Neighborhood Development Services staff hasn’t identified which neighborhood will be assisted through this program, but the project could be new playground equipment or trail renovations.
“If a park is located in a low income area, we can use funds for that project,” Kubly said.
Iowa City City Manager, Geoff Fruin, said the city has used these funds for other improvements, but the goal of the funds is to target low-to-moderate income areas.
Recently, the City Council has given payments to Forestview Mobile Home Park residents to relocate to new housing.
The city is currently working to get through the 2022 Affordable Housing Action Plan, which replaced the 2016 Affordable Housing Action Plan, Fruin wrote in a statement to The Daily Iowan.
“The last affordable housing plan was completed back in 2016,” said Tracy Hightshoe, neighborhood and development services director to The Daily Iowan. “It identified 15 action steps and we completed 14 of the 15. There are various steps regarding funding and zoning changes.”
The 2022 Affordable Housing Action Plan, like the fiscal action plan adopted during Tuesday’s meeting, was made to support low-to-moderate income households, Fruin wrote. The Affordable Housing Action Plan was approved during the June 6 City Council meeting.
“If more lower-income household needs are met, the entire community will benefit from greater stability in the housing market,” Fruin said.
In order to come up with the new The 2022 Affordable Housing Action Plan, the Housing Steering Committee went out to community spaces to ask residents questions about what they wanted the city to dedicate more money to.
“We basically gave them 15 to 20 options, or they could write in one instead and asked questions like, ‘if the city were to dedicate more money to affordable housing, what would help your family best?’” Hightshoe said.
Like the Affordable Housing Action Plan, the Fiscal Year 2023 Action Plan was open to public comment for thirty days, ending on Tuesday.