TONIGHT at 6: No Sweet Home: The housing crisis facing Iowans
Written by Michelle Corless, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
"No Sweet Home" will take a look at the struggle to find affordable housing in Iowa.
This has been a story idea I've had for several months. As reporters, we often have to cover public meetings. In many of these public meetings, we hear about the need for affordable housing in Iowa.
A few months ago, we covered layoffs at the Iowa City Housing Authority. During that story, someone said affordable housing "is the number one crisis" in Johnson County.
The interviews I did that day inspired me -- I wanted to know more about the problem and what, if any, solution there was. I also wanted to know what help was available for those who needed it.
In the story you'll hear from Desiree Dampier. She's a single mother who moved to Iowa to provide a better life for her daughter.
She was on the waitlist for a housing voucher for nearly two years before she got a voucher. Then, she struggled to find an apartment. She even lived at Shelter House with her daughter until finding the family a home.
You'll learn the difference the voucher makes in her life and what her plan is to get off government assistance.
You'll also hear from Steven Rackis, Housing Administrator for the Iowa City Housing Authority. He talks about how, in Iowa City, finding an affordable place to live can be even more difficult. College students mean rental units are in high demand.
Housing vouchers aren't for everyone. There are income restrictions.
But so many more Iowans are struggling to pay for their homes -- the Iowa Finance Authority did a study recently that found 45 percent of renters and 20 percent of homeowners are "cost-burdened" because they spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing and related expenses.
You'll meet Christina Conner, one of the many fitting this description.
For people who struggle day-to-day to make ends meet, there are services available. Or if you're OK now, but an unexpected live event happens, you may need help.
That's where organizations like HACAP (Hawkeye Area Community Action Program, Inc.) come in. They provide a wide range of services for Iowans in six counties. I spoke with Jane Drapeaux, CEO.
The final interview I did was with Dave Jamison, Executive Director of the Iowa Finance Authority -- the housing agency for Iowa. The Iowa Finance Authority helps make affordable housing a reality. It also recently launched a new website to help people find a place to live.
We'll also cover why having affordable housing benefits all of us -- whether we struggle to pay the bills or not. Check it out Thursday at 6 p.m.
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