Thirteen community programs or projects that will help meet the City of Iowa City’s housing, public facilities, public services, and economic development needs were awarded funding on July 1, the start of the City’s new fiscal year. More than $1.5 million will be distributed, using funds the City received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) and HOME Investment Partnerships Program. These funds are provided to Iowa City from HUD each year to help meet the housing, services, and employment needs of low- to moderate-income residents.

After local service agencies submitted requests for funding in January, the applications were reviewed by City staff and the Housing and Community Development Commission (HCDC). The Commission made recommendations to the City Council for specific projects and funding amounts, based on the City’s current needs as identified in the CITY STEPS document. Final approval came from the Council earlier this year.

Funding for FY2016 in the form of long-term loans or grants was provided for the following projects:

 

HOUSING

CHARM Homes LLC: $61,650 was awarded to help purchase two four-bedroom homes that will provide eight units of affordable rental housing for the elderly or people with disabilities. This business, owned by Bruce Teague, provides supportive community living options with around-the-clock staff support.

City of Iowa City Housing Rehabilitation Program: The City of Iowa City will receive $325,000 for housing rehabilitation programs to assist Iowa City homeowners in maintaining, repairing, or improving their homes. Programs offer no-interest or low-interest loans and are geared toward low- to moderate-income homeowners whose household incomes fall below 80% of Iowa City’s median income.

Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity: $61,956 will be used to help purchase two residential lots and build two homes in Iowa City to sell to income-eligible homebuyers. Habitat for Humanity works with volunteers, donors, agencies, churches, and businesses to build housing for people earning 31 to 50% of the median family income.

Mayor’s Youth Empowerment Program (MYEP): $60,000 went to the MYEP Home Project for purchase of a three-bedroom home that will provide housing for three people with disabilities who are part of MYEP’s Residential Supported Community Living Program. This local nonprofit partners with the Department of Human Services, Mental Health and Disability Services, and local agencies to provide services for people with disabilities.

Systems Unlimited: A $184,000 award will be used acquire handicap-accessible housing for use as rental housing for up to six people with disabilities. Systems Unlimited serves people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and currently owns 15 single-family homes in Iowa City.

The Housing Fellowship: The Housing Fellowship, a local nonprofit that acquires, builds, and manages affordable housing units, was awarded funds for three separate projects to help meet local housing needs. A certified Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO), The Housing Fellowship currently owns and manages 165 affordable rental units for low-income households and has also offered home-purchase programs for low-income homeowners. Allocations for FY2016 include:

  • $300,000 to purchase three two-bedroom rental housing units in the newly constructed Sabin Townhomes, a 28-unit condo development in Riverfront Crossings;
  • $49,998 for the rehab of two dwelling units currently owned by the organization; and
  • a $16,000 grant that will help the agency cover operating costs to plan housing projects.

 

PUBLIC FACILITIES

Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County (NCJC): A grant for $94,140 will be used to complete a basement remodeling project at the Broadway Street center that will add an office, provide a new entrance to the preschool room, and fund repairs to the front door and parking lot. NCJC operates two neighborhood centers to provide education, programming, support and daycare for low-income children, youth, and adults -- one at Pheasant Ridge and one at Broadway.

Domestic Violence Intervention Project (DVIP): A $116,256 grant was awarded to rehab the shelter’s two multiple-stall restrooms, and to replace doors to bedrooms and offices. DVIP provides shelter, crisis intervention, and support services to domestic violence victims and their children.

City of Iowa City: $75,000 was designated for streetscape improvements in the South District, including curb ramps and a directional placemaking project. Some of the funds will be used for the creation of a logo, icons, and directional signs that will highlight the area’s many recreational, environmental, and cultural assets.

 

PUBLIC SERVICES

Aid to Agencies: $100,000 was awarded to Neighborhood Centers of Johnson County ($15,000) and the Domestic Violence Intervention Program ($45,000) for general operating expenses, and to the Crisis Center ($40,000) for its emergency assistance program. Additional smaller amounts will be awarded to other local nonprofits.

 

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Iowa City Economic Development Fund: The City Council awarded $50,000 for streetscape improvements, including curb ramps in Downtown Iowa City that will improve accessibility.

Other funds have been allocated to the Neighborhood and Development Services Department to administer and oversee these funding programs. For more information, contact Tracy Hightshoe, Neighborhood Services Coordinator, at 319-356-5244 or tracy-hightshoe@iowa-city.org.

 

Date of publication

Friday, July 17, 2015

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