Increasing Affordable Housing in Iowa City
In this policy paper, we are taking a fresh look at affordable housing in Iowa City. By affordable, we mean housing that costs 30% or less of an individual’s or household’s total income, regardless of whether the house is owned or rented. For certain demographic groups (such as students
at the University of Iowa) this is usually a temporary situation, and not a barrier to their well-being. However, for adult individuals and households
with children, paying more than 30% of their income in rent or mortgage payments means that they have less to spend on nutritious food, safe
transportation, child care and health care. Unsustainable housing situations can lead to mental and physical health problems, impaired achievement
in school and work, and even homelessness. At the community level, building and operating affordable housing increases spending and employment in the surrounding economy, acts as an important source of revenue for local governments, helps local businesses attract and retain employees, and reduces the likelihood of foreclosure and its associated costs. A shortage of affordable housing diminishes these benefits.