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

Opinion | Iowa City has a lot to gain from affordable housing

In light of Iowa City’s move toward adding more affordable housing, the benefits of such a move should not be overlooked.
Cody Blissett
The Iowa City Council holds a meeting in Iowa City on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023.

Affordable housing is the answer to assist those in need while producing serious economic benefits.

The City of Iowa City is applying for a $5.6 million federal grant to remove barriers to building affordable housing and is committing another $2.85 million for its planned affordable housing projects.

Iowa City is doing the right thing in its push to make affordable housing more accessible and available. Adequate affordable housing should be in every city in Iowa and across the country.

Housing is not a luxury. Having a decent home is the foundation of living a stable, quality life for any individual or family. Being a student, having a job, and having a family all require the resources and benefits of a home.

Additionally, there are substantial economic benefits that affordable housing brings to the table. Many opponents of affordable housing are only concerned that it will attract “less desirable” residents, or that the buildings will be of lesser quality and ultimately be bad for business. Affordable housing is always in demand, and rent is reliably paid through voucher systems.

Those who work in real estate and surrounding industries are not the only ones who stand to see these benefits. People who live in affordable housing will enjoy increased spending power. Without the burden of high rent, residents will have more money for literally anything else you can imagine: food, local businesses, health care, etc.

Naturally, it will take many new jobs, such as property managers and construction workers, to help build and sustain affordable housing projects.

Furthermore, this will inspire businesses to build around these communities. Restaurants, stores, health care services, and recreation would have major motives to move in and around these communities, meaning even more jobs. The increased spending power of the residents would help sustain these businesses.

On top of all of these remarkable benefits, 100 affordable rentals in the U.S. could generate $2.2 million in sales, taxes, and other government revenue, according to the Campaign for Housing and Community Development Funding.

Economic benefits aside, cities should construct and maintain affordable housing simply because no one in one of the richest countries in the history of the world should be sleeping out on the streets in the middle of winter or have to choose between paying for medicine or rent.

There are countless benefits to constructing more affordable housing, and many of the common grievances against it are just not true. People may object because they are needlessly afraid of those who live in affordable housing units, but there is no reason their aesthetic preferences should take priority over the needs of disadvantaged people.

Iowa City is doing the smart and right thing in moving toward allowing the construction of more affordable housing, and our success could be an example for cities and towns all over Iowa.


Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.


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About the Contributors
Evan Weidl, Opinions Editor
Evan Weidl is a senior majoring in political science. He previously worked in the opinions section as a columnist.
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.