Public housing

Local nonprofits hope to buy social housing in Davenport

DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) – Several nonprofit organizations that are part of the Quad Cities Housing Cluster have identified an incredible need for affordable rents and mortgages, if this purchase goes through it will keep more than 40 affordable housing units available for those who need it most.

“It’s, just that it’s really become a crisis,” said Kristi Crafton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities. “When [housing prices] are so high, it leaves the majority, it drives people into homelessness or constantly moving, because they just can’t afford it.

With nowhere to go, affordable housing becomes essential.

“Here in the Quad Cities, we know we need at least 6,600 units at this very low income,” said Stacy Kiser-Willey, executive director of Vera French Housing. “So we really got together and came up with a plan to buy these properties.”

The purchase between Habitat for Humanity, Vera French and the Ecumenical Housing Development Group would cover 42 units in more than 20 buildings ranging from single-family homes to duplexes to six-plexes. The properties were originally built in the 1980s as “scatter site” public housing, spread across the city as a Department of Housing and Urban Development, or “HUD” project.

“Over the years, it’s really been about HUD and the city talking and seeing where there’s really more need for Section Eight-type housing, voucher-assisted housing, from a city perspective. “said Bruce Berger, Director of Community and Economic Development for the City of Davenport. “Because the main mission of the city is not really to own and manage rental properties.”

Vera French plans to use her units to expand permanent supportive housing for people with mental illness.

“If they don’t know where they’re going to stay tonight, uh, you know, how can they focus on their sanity,” Kiser-Willey said. “Housing is really the cornerstone of someone’s life.

Habitat for Humanity Quad Cities hopes to renovate 4 single-family homes and sell them to partner families with an interest-free mortgage.

“When you can afford to buy your own home, it really provides stability for a family, self-sufficiency for a family,” Crafton said. “You can stay in one place, your kids can go to school without changing frequently, and you can afford other necessities of life.”

Regardless of their specific plan for properties, all nonprofits have the same goal.

“We’re just trying to preserve it, because right now it’s about affordable housing, and we don’t want to lose that.” said Crafton.

Most of these units are currently occupied by tenants. The city says they will receive substantial notice to determine whether they will stay with the new owners, or need a housing voucher to find a new location. The city expects HUD approval to take at least another six months, if the city council approves the sale later this month.

The city will hold a public hearing on the sale on Wednesday, March 16 during the Committee of the Whole meeting.

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