IV I. INSTITUTIONAL STRUCTURE
Institutional Structure and Intergovernmental Cooperation
The institutions described below are only those involved in a direct way with the provision of housing in Iowa City, either through programs, projects, or financing. There are dozens of entities that are involved in providing services that indirectly (but no less importantly) keep people from losing housing or allow them the opportunity to look for housing in the first place. Many of these services are catalogued in this document.
The largest provider of affordable housing in Iowa City is the Iowa City Housing Authority. Through public housing units and the Housing Choice Voucher program, over 1,171 households are currently assisted with rental housing. The City's Department of Planning and Community Development is a major actor, too, with its Housing Rehabilitation Program, planning and research activities, technical assistance for housing providers, some housing development, and the administration of Community Development Block Grant funds, many of which go to housing-related projects.
The Greater Iowa City Housing Fellowship (GICHF) and Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity are currently the only nonprofit organizations devoted solely to housing low-income families. Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity builds single-family home and sells them to low income homebuyers. Greater Iowa City Housing Fellowship has concentrated on very low-income renters although they have developed a few units for homeownership. The GICHF is working on developing rental housing in both Iowa City and the surrounding area. They are currently involved with an acquisition and rehabilitation project. Recently they have expanded their capacity and are exploring options to enter into the Low Income Housing Tax Credit market.
Other local non-profits, Successful Living, Inc. and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program are also involved with affordable housing. Both of these organizations are concentrating their current efforts to transitional housing, with supportive services.
The local lending institutions have played an increasingly important role in the development of affordable housing. A group of lenders, along with the City and the Board of Realtors, presented free Homebuyer Education Seminars for the last few years, which will be continued due to its interest and success.
The importance of the emergency shelters in Iowa City goes without saying. These facilities provide a much-needed service and do so with resources that are always under stress. This year Iowa City shelters received a total of $140,000 from the State of Iowa in Homeless Shelter Operational Grant Program monies. This is a State program that is a mirror image of the federal Emergency Shelter Grant program.
Supportive housing providers play a vital role serving special needs populations in Iowa City. These agencies deal not only with dwindling resources, like the emergency shelters, but philosophical changes in the way they are mandated to serve their populations (such as the State's shift away from group homes for persons with developmental disabilities).
Finally, the community's housing rehabilitation programs are extremely important in maintaining the City's affordable housing stock as well as upgrading it, as is the case with accessibility improvements. The City's Housing Rehabilitation Program has a total budget of about $335,000. ($80,000 was awarded in 1999 from the HOME Program, and some $255,000 comes from CDBG funds this fiscal year). In addition to these funds, the Housing Rehabilitation program is currently administering a $120,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank. Elderly Services Agency runs the Small Repair Program, which assists persons with physical handicaps and/or elderly with small repairs to their homes. These repairs are small enough that they are too expensive to administer through the City's Housing Rehab Program.
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)/Iowa Department of Economic Development. Through the Iowa Department of Economic Development, the City, nonprofit and for-profit developers will be administering close to $1.1 million in HOME Investment Partnership funds from HUD. Approximately one-third is for acquisition and rehab projects and the other two-thirds is for new construction/conversion.
Iowa Finance Authority. In addition to administering a Rental Rehab Program, IFA administers the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program and the Housing Assistance Fund for acquisition, rehab, new construction and home ownership programs.
Iowa City Public Housing Authority. The Public Housing Authority owns and manages 101 units of public housing, dispersed throughout the City plus 1,070 Housing Choice Vouchers. More than 400 households are on the waiting list for rental assistance. The Housing Authority has more contact with individuals and families with housing problems than any other agency in the community. It also has almost daily contact with local landlords, through the Housing Choice Voucher program, and with human service agencies.
Department of Planning and Community Development. There are 5.5 FTEs in the Community Development Division will continue its affordable housing activities: 1) research and planning; 2) administer CDBG and HOME funds; 3) prepare the Consolidated Plan, Annual Performance Reports, and the Annual Action Plan; 4) technical assistance for and cooperation with housing nonprofit and for-profit developers; 5) rehabilitation program; and 6) other affordable housing projects.
Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP). DVIP serves women and men victims of domestic abuse and their children. Using nearly $200,000 in CDBG funds, DVIP constructed a new facility and children’s area in that can house approximately 60 people. This is the only emergency shelter of its type in Iowa City and surrounding areas. Over the last five years DVIP was also awarded approximately $20,000, from the City of Iowa City in CDBG funds and landfill funds, to operate the Furniture Project.
Ecumenical Consultation of Churches. The Consultation consists of 19 member congregations and is the umbrella organization for the Ecumenical Towers Housing Project, the Emergency Housing Project (see below), and the Common Fund.
Elderly Services Agency. Elderly Services Agency runs several programs dealing with housing people who are elderly. The Shared Housing program provides elderly persons with housing alternatives, support services and a safe environment, by sharing their home with another person. Each person has private space and shares common areas such as the kitchen and living room. Elderly Services Agency also runs the Small Repair Program, which does small repairs to homes so that low-income elderly or handicapped persons can stay safely in their own homes.
Emergency Housing Project (EHP). EHP is an emergency shelter serving homeless people. EHP provides shelter, showers, telephone, and referrals to appropriate agencies.
Greater Iowa City Housing Fellowship (GICHF). The goal of the GICHF is to develop and provide decent, affordable housing for low-income residents of the Iowa City area, especially to holders of Section 8 vouchers and certificates. The GICHF also has a new program providing loans for rental deposits.
Iowa Valley Habitat for Humanity. The Iowa Valley affiliate of this international housing ministry started its chapter in 1994. Low-income families are selected to work with Habitat in the construction of a new home for the family. Habitat for Humanity receives gifts, volunteer time, and no-interest loans to build or renovate simple, decent homes for people who are inadequately sheltered. Construction is a cooperative venture between volunteers and homebuyers. Houses are sold at no profit and with a no-interest mortgage repaid over a 15- to 25-year period. The house payments are then recycled to build more houses.
Hawkeye Area Community Action Program. HACAP provides a variety of programs to help those in need in the Iowa City area, several of which are housing-related: Energy Assistance; Weatherization; Homeless Outreach and Support; Utility, Shelter and Financial Related Counseling; Mortgage Resolution Assistance, and Transitional Housing. HACAP's Transitional Housing Program provides housing and supportive services for families for up to eighteen months to enable them to become self-sufficient through counseling, referrals, job training, and household management skills.
Hillcrest Family Services. Hillcrest Residence (a program of Hillcrest Family Services) has as its mission to help clients become successful in the living, learning, and working environment of their choice, with maximum feasible independence from helping professionals. Hillcrest serves adults with histories of psychiatric or emotional problems that prevent them from living independently.
Independent Living, The Evertt Conner Center for,. This private, nonprofit agency teaches daily living skills to adults with developmental disabilities to greatly enhance their ability to participate independently in the community. Skills are taught through self-advocacy, support groups, counseling, and educational and vocational programs.
LIFE Skills, Inc. LIFE Skills provides services in many areas to many different groups, but one of its newest programs assists people by teaching the skills needed for both looking for and staying in housing such as budgeting, housekeeping, etc..
Successful Living, Inc. Successful Living, Inc. provides transitional housing and supportive services for persons who are homeless or threatened with homelessness.
Systems Unlimited, Inc. Systems Unlimited provides permanent, long-term housing for people with developmental disabilities in group home and apartment settings. Respite care is available on an emergency basis, if space is available. In-home care is also available.
Youth Homes, Inc. Youth Homes provides emergency and short-term care, counseling, and supervision to troubled or homeless unaccompanied adolescents. Its services include crisis intervention counseling; emergency residential services; and group and individual counseling to youth including pregnant teens or teenage mothers who are homeless.
Local developers. Most of the new affordable housing in Iowa City has come from local for-profit developers. In particular, Burns and Burns and the Farnum Group who are both in the process of developing affordable rental housing for seniors and persons with disabilities. Both projects leveraged funds from many sources, including City and State HOME monies, Housing Assistance Fund, Low Income Housing Tax Credits and private mortgages.
Local lending institutions. With the City's involvement, several of the local lending institutions have formed consortia to help fund several recent projects by the Greater Iowa City Housing Fellowship for affordable rental housing rehabilitation and new construction. They have indicated interest in continuing assistance for rental and owner-occupied housing projects. Several lenders were also involved in starting up a homebuyers educational seminar in July 1993 and this effort has continued through this year.
The Housing Authority embarked on a joint venture with Southgate Development that resulted in the construction of three affordable homes on the west side of Iowa City which were then sold to income eligible families. To facilitate home ownership, the Housing Authority worked together with the Federal Home Loan Bank and the University of Iowa Community Credit Union to provide forgivable $10,000 loans to income eligible families who were participating in TOP or ADHOP.
Other local lenders committed to TOP and ADHOP are Iowa State Bank, Hawkeye State Bank, Mercantile Bank, and Hills Bank. These lenders have agreed to certain financing terms and conditions that have made the dream of home ownership a reality for many families in Iowa City.
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