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The second-day story, with your help. Call Gazette reporter Adam Belz at (319) 398-8273 or e-mail him: adam.belz@gazcomm.com

Section 8 myths/facts

Myth: Most Section 8 vouchers in Cedar Rapids are held by people from Chicago.
Fact: 93 percent of vouchers in Cedar Rapids were issued locally, and the program requires one year of residency, and has a three to five year waiting list. 4.8 percent of vouchers come from Illinois, representing about 50 households.

Myth: Most Section 8 vouchers in Cedar Rapids are used in Wellington Heights.
Fact: Of the 1066 vouchers in use today, 185 are in southeast Cedar Rapids. The quadrant with the most vouchers is southwest Cedar Rapids, with 316.

Myth: When someone uses a Section 8 voucher, he or she can invite lots of friends and family to live with them in the unit.
Fact: A Section 8 voucher will be terminated if the voucher-holder breaks the terms of the agreement, and one term is that “unauthorized occupants” are forbidden.

I’ll be working on a story about Section 8 in Cedar Rapids over the next few weeks, and I’m looking for people who have experience with it — renters, neighbors, cops. I’m not sure what the story will say, but I want to get as many ideas and perspectives as possible before it goes to press. Call me!

My phone number is 319-398-8273 and my e-mail is adam.belz@gazcomm.com

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Filed under: Cedar Rapids City Council, Public Safety

6 Responses

  1. Kosek Trust says:

    Good for you. Get both sides of the story. And then move on to RRCT, where there is no voting representation for landlords. 54% of damaged residential property in the flood were rental properties.

    These rental properties were mostly single family homes, mixed in with duplexes, tri-plexes etc.. Not large multi-family units (excepting the two large downtown complexes).

    Then go research Maxfield Research’s report and Sherman’s reports to the City about replacement rental units? Then ask about the actual vacancy rates?

    Then ask what is our real need for replacement housing units? Then ask how these large multi-family units meet what Sherman’s report calls “neighborhood compatibility” etc?

    I bet we start to hear about this at City Council meetings from both flood affected landlords and flood affected business owners, and also the neighborhood associations that reallly understand they are better off with the pre-flood landlords (most of whom are good citizens) rather than what we seem to be getting.

    Infrastructure? Isn’t flood damaged infrastructure reimbursed by FEMA? Yes. Why then is the City raiding CDBG funds for infrastructure? New development infrastructure isn’t reimbursible, that’s why.

    Follow the money.

    There is a story here Adam, go get it. I’m sure there are a couple of us who know the facts that will be interested in helping you.

    • adambelz says:

      Kosek, thank you for this comment! I have had two conversations (three, including you) in recent weeks in which someone pointed out that the city is favoring multi-unit housing over mom-and-pop landlords. They’ve also pointed out that a lot of apartments are vacant, so why do we need more multi-unit “warehousing,” as one landlord called it? This is ultimately a story about city council policy, but it’s a good story. I’ll be sure to contact you.

      Thanks,
      Adam

  2. DT says:

    Great project, Adam!! Especially for a city that thinks we are being invaded by Chicago.

  3. concerned_citizen says:

    It would be nice if we ever found a link of a map with specific addresses allowing or using these vouchers. You had a map once, but it didnt’ provide specific details on addresses. It appeared from that map that there was one in my neighborhood, and I am trying to find out if its the rental unit that has a chronic meth dealing problem the cops can’t seem to figure out despite the hourly traffic and the wife-beating drunk who walks around screaming at all hours…

  4. Erica Zito says:

    Thank you!! I hope this info gets distributed far and wide. I get so tired of people saying that all of our problems in CR are because of “people from Chicago” moving here for the “great Iowa benefits.”
    I can’t count the times I’ve been told about the mythical billboards on the South Side of Chicago that recruit families to Cedar Rapids.
    All it is is thinly veiled racism.
    Section 8 is a wonderful program for many families — and I look forward to learning more.

  5. is there any way to get school enrollment statistics based on poverty levels ? i can only speak from experience, but we get a ton of chicago transplants each year in our local section 8 apt’s. it may just be an anomaly , but i doubt it.

    also can you get the stats on how long the person has lived in the state prior to getting assistance ?

    how long the average person stays on assistance ?

    also can you correlate this data of section 8 with your police hot spots ? i would assume they dovetail, but I’ve been wrong before.

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