(The Center Square) – Iowa City organizations may apply for about $500,000 from the city’s disbursement of federal dollars starting August 10.
The money is to be used for affordable housing in fiscal year 2022, the city announced Monday, and will come from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnerships.
The funding could be applied to acquisition, rehabilitation, new construction or direct assistance for renter- or owner-occupied housing. The grants and partnerships “help develop viable urban communities by providing safe and decent affordable housing, suitable living environments, and expanded economic opportunities, principally for eligible persons,” the news release said.
Iowa City’s Housing and Community Development Commission and city council will review applications and allocate funds to projects through a public process based on priorities outlined in Iowa City’s Citizen Participation Plan, City Steps 2025, the five-year plan for housing, jobs and services for low-income residents. Iowa City’s priorities are “creation and preservation of affordable housing in both the rental and sales markets, … housing and services for persons experiencing homelessness or who are at risk of becoming homeless, … public services for non-homeless [low- and moderate-income] LMI persons, … public facility and infrastructure improvements,” and “economic and workforce development,” according to the City Steps 2025 plan.
Iowa City Community Development Associate Planner Brianna Thul told The Center Square in a phone interview that the money is leftover from the past year’s normal funding round, which saw fewer applications, possibly due to organizations’ “feeling the strain of the pandemic” and other factors such as the eviction moratorium.
“We don’t usually do a mid-year funding round,” Thul said.
This competitive funding round is available to all interested organizations, which might include Community Housing Development Organizations or other nonprofits. The city has worked in the past with organizations like Habitat for Humanity, she said.
“It’s a good opportunity for Iowa City to expand affordable housing through a federal program,” Thul said.
Iowa City’s Housing and Community Development Commission will review applications and have question and answer sessions with applicants. Commission meetings, which occur at 6:30 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month, are open to the public. The commission will present its recommendations to the Iowa City city council for its review and possible approval.
The commission has been meeting remotely, but normally it meets at the Senior Center, 28 S. Linn St., in Iowa City, according to the City Steps 2025 plan.
Applications are due Aug. 31. More information is available at www.icgov.org/actionplan. Neighborhood Services staff can answer questions about the grants or funding process at 319-356-5240 or firstname.lastname@example.org.