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Council to vote on housing plan

BY BILL COONEY | APRIL 07, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa City City Council will vote today on whether to adopt the Iowa City Housing Authority’s five-year and annual plans, which aim to continue public housing efforts in Iowa City.

The federal government requires the city to submit these plans in accordance with the Quality Housing and Work Responsibility Act of 1998. Adopting the plans is required for the city to continue to receive federal funding.

Federal funds received from adopting these plans are important for public housing in the city, Councilor Kingsley Botchway said.

“From a broad perspective, we want this funding to continue,” he said. “Iowa City has a lot of housing vouchers, so this federal funding is crucial.”

The five-year plan describes the Housing Authority’s mission and the long-term plan for achieving that mission over the next five years.

The strategies for meeting this mission are developed through data found in CITY STEPS, Iowa City’s consolidated plan, said Steven Rackis, the Housing Authority administrator.

“The five-year plan is something the federal government requires us to submit,” Rackis said. “The consolidated plan is much more detailed and comprehensive. It sets out strategies for housing, jobs, and services for low-income residents in Iowa City.”

Rackis said the consolidated plan provides details of how federal money will be allocated in the city.

The annual plan provides details about current public-housing programs and the population served as well as strategies for addressing needs of currently assisted families. It is also the annual application for grants to support improvements to public housing.

Mayor Pro Tem Susan Mims said the plans reflect the focus of the city.

“The plan doesn’t get constructed from scratch each year,” she said. “The current plan is an updated form of previous plans, changed to reflect the priorities of the city.”

Federal funds are the main reason for the plans, Rackis said.

“I think that there were more forms attached to the plan then the actual plan itself,” he said. “The comprehensive plan, which we use to produce the five-year and annual plans, is much more detailed and lays out how the federal funding received will be used by the Housing Authority over the next five years.”


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