Letter: Affordable House topic of conference

Paula Vaughan

Many families in Johnson County make difficult choices between paying rent and buying food or clothing for their children. The more a family spends on housing, the less money is available for basic needs such as food, clothing, transportation and health care. As prices continue to rise and wages remain stagnant, the need for affordable housing becomes urgent.

Johnson County is one of the most expensive places to live in Iowa. Lack of affordable housing, especially in Johnson County’s urban areas, negatively impacts our local economy and community wellness.

Iowa City provides a good example: with a vacancy rate of a little under 2 percent, finding a place to live can be challenging. The tight market and the need for student housing pushes the cost of rental property up. A lack of public transportation and lack of personal, reliable transportation means that many workers need to live close to their places of work; however, affordable housing options are nearly impossible to find.

Johnson County residents need to be heard on this issue. On June 17, The Johnson County Affordable Homes Coalition will present Affordable Housing, A Win/Win for All. Topics will focus on solutions that have worked across the Midwest and other regions. Keynote speakers are Stephanie Ettinger de Cuba, an Iowa City native, with Children’s Health Watch, and Taz George of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. Breakout sessions will provide opportunities for residents to discuss solutions that will affect Johnson County. Register online at http://www.htfjc.org or at the door.

Paula Vaughan

WIN/WIN Planning Committee

Iowa City

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