Federal sequester now causing layoffs in Iowa City - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Federal sequester now causing layoffs in Iowa City

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) -

The impact of this year's federal sequester is continuing to hit eastern Iowa. New this week: layoffs in Iowa City.

On Tuesday night the City Council is expected to lay off two full-time employees of the Iowa City Housing Authority.

The layoffs will directly impact Section 8 housing.

Right now, the Housing Authority helps more than 1,200 families with vouchers and will still continue to do so.

"As far as the level of affordable housing available -- no change," said Douglas Boothroy, director of Housing and Inspection Services.

Customer service, however, might take a hit.

The Housing Authority is fully funded by the federal government, and Section 8 administrative revenue was cut 30 percent during the federal sequester.

"It's easier to restrict the administrative end of it than it is the user end of it," said Boothroy.

Despite maintaining the same funding for vouchers, there aren't enough.

Right now there are around 500 families on the Section 8 wait list between parts of Iowa and Washington counties and all of Johnson County, where affordable housing has been a big concern for years.

"Affordable housing, in my personal opinion, is the number one crisis facing us here in Johnson County," said Rod Sullivan, Johnson County Supervisor.

The need for housing worries county supervisors who say the county is the largest provider of social services, helping out when people can't afford basic needs.

"It's all related, and if people are spending way too much of their money on housing, they don't have money for those other essentials," said Sullivan.

Housing Authority officials don't foresee any cuts to the number of vouchers available, but are unsure what to expect when it comes to administrative funds in the future.

"The funding is all about politics," said Boothroy.

The layoffs will be based on seniority and will become effective on Feb. 19.

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