Iowa City receives federal funds to tackle housing instability

Four nonprofit organizations have applied to receive federal funds to help individuals facing homelessness, domestic violence or sexual assault and populations with high risk of housing instability.

The Iowa City Housing and Community Development Commission met July 28 to discuss allocation of more than $1.5 million to go toward increasing affordable housing units and championing supportive service programs for qualified populations.

After a round of applications and discussion at the meeting, the commission agreed to allocate $517,742 to Shelter House Iowa City, $500,000 to the Domestic Violence Intervention Program (DVIP), $157,500 to Iowa Legal Aid and $45,000 for United Action for Youth (UAY).

Funds going to the DVIP will be utilized for the construction of a new shelter, which is set for groundbreaking in April 2023 and could be complete by March 2024. It is estimated to help 700 individuals.

Iowa Legal Aid would use the funds for legal services to increase housing stability and 1,130 individuals would be impacted. Similar to Iowa Legal Aid, Shelter House will receive the full funding they requested.

Staff originally recommended UAY receive $30,000, just half of the $60,000 the nonprofit requested, for expansion of the group’s Transitional Living Program. After discussion between commission members, UAY is set to receive an additional $15,000 that would’ve been held in reserves for the next funding round. Just over $300,000 will remain in reserves.

The funding comes from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) where $5 billion was dedicated to housing and shelter nationally. Some communities, including Iowa City, qualify for the HOME Investment Partnership Program (HOME Program) from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

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