Providing affordable housing is a challenge many growing communities across the country are facing, and it’s a top priority for the Iowa City City Council.
The council set out in its 2016-2017 Strategic Plan to create an achievable goal and implement strategies to help tackle the affordable housing problem in Iowa City.
Communities can invest in a number of strategies to encourage housing affordability.
Staff presented an Affordable Housing Action Plan to the Council during a work session on June 21, 2016. During the presentation staff gave a review of existing affordable housing programs, recent progress and a list of potential new strategies and funding sources. Council adopted this plan.
Since 2016, the majority of these action steps have been accomplished, such as an Affordable Housing Requirement in the Riverfront Crossings District, enabling the FUSE Housing First project (Cross Park Place), and approving Tax Increment Financing for public infrastructure on Foster Road to capture the required low-moderate income set-aside for affordable housing.
Housing Action Plan Updates
Cross Park Place – A Housing First Project of Shelter House
In June 2016, City Council approved code amendments to allow a new FUSE - Housing First approach to help house those experiencing homelessness in Iowa City. The FUSE (frequent user enhancement services) model targets chronically homeless individuals who are frequent users of high cost services such as correction systems, emergency rooms, mental health and substance abuse services and provides a permanent home. The Housing First approach does not place conditions of housing on the behavior of participants, but instead provides subsidized housing with the ongoing option to participate in supportive services. Cross Park Place, a FUSE and Housing First project, houses 24 one-bedroom apartments with on-site offices and an exam room for case managers and partnering health and behavioral health clinicians. In October 2018, City Council adopted a Targeted Preference for individuals referred by Shelter House for HUD-funded permanent housing and converted 5% of tenant-based rental vouchers to project-based rental vouchers. 24 project-based vouchers will support Cross Park Place.
Watch a brief video summary of the affordable housing situation in Iowa City and the steps being taken to address it.