Leaders discuss affordable housing


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Community identification cards were at the forefront of a joint meeting among local Johnson County municipalities in North Liberty on Monday.

Johnson County Supervisor Janelle Rettig said during the meeting that the IDs that could be given out through the county would be beneficial to those without state identification.

“The community IDs would be a clear benefit to those spending money in the community,” she said.
The Johnson County Board of Supervisors supported community IDs at a Sept. 17 meeting, and Rettig said more than 700 people have signed up for the cards already.

“Right now, the Johnson County Auditor’s Office may be the initial people to issue the community IDs,” she said.

Iowa City Mayor Pro Tem Susan Mims said the cards have the City Council’s approval.

“We talked about it with the Center for Worker Justice,” she said. “And it made sense to have an ID that is accepted by all jurisdictions.”

Mims said one reason the identification can be useful for the community is the number of people it can provide with a solid form of identification.

“I find it amazing the number of people who don’t have state IDs,” she said.

Also at the meeting, the local leaders discussed a potential plan to add diversity in residential neighborhoods in Johnson County.

Iowa City Mayor Matt Hayek said increasing affordable housing in neighborhoods is a regional issue and a plan should be put in place on a regional level.

“Whatever we can do moving forward we’re interested in, we just hope it doesn’t mess with the diversity policy,” he said.

The consensus reached at the meeting was that cities will fall back to speak with their respective city councils and other organizations and then report back on their wants related to the issue at the next joint meeting, in January.

Looking forward to the next meeting, the groups will try moving toward more communication among the municipalities and establishing legislative goals.

“Enough information is not shared,” Rettig said. “Anytime we can share information about who is lobbying one way and what you are thinking about is a good thing.”

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