116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - Changes to Section 8 rules were approved on Tuesday by the Cedar Rapids City Council despite an eleventh-hour objection from Iowa Legal Aid, a nonprofit providing legal assistance for those down on their luck.
The City Council unanimously signed off on administrative rule changes that reduce the amount of time a tenant can be absent from a unit from 30 days to 14 and tweaked other language.
Ericka Petersen, a staff attorney for Iowa Legal Aid, applauded the city for amending its plan after initial concerns were raised in April, saying it's better, but problems remain, including the reduction to 14 days.
'Unfortunately, this reduction will put those who do reside in their units, but are absent for any number of legitimate reasons, at a higher risk of losing their voucher,” Petersen wrote in a June 26 letter to the city.
Sara Buck, Cedar Rapids housing program manager, who helps administrate Section 8 locally, noted the reduction to 14 days matches what already is in many leases in Cedar Rapids and was supported by an advisory panel of landlords and tenants.
'We believe there is no added burden because this policy is already in place in a majority of the leases,” Buck said.
The changes are intended to safeguard against abuse of Section 8, a federal program designed to provide rental assistance to those with very low incomes. The changes take effect on Saturday.
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