BOMBSHELL: JoCo Paid 60% of IC Applications while 40% of County Lost Lottery
Color maps and graphs show mobile home park residents overwhelmingly impacted
Iowa City, IA --
Johnson County paid for 60 percent of Iowa City applications to receive a Direct Assistance Program check while 40 percent of non-Iowa City residents lost the DAP lottery, according to a new Johnson County staff report released today, which includes graphs and maps of impacted areas (see pages 106-110 and attached screenshots).
Forty percent of unincorporated Johnson County residents lost the lottery. In Oxford, three out of five applicants lost the lottery. In Coralville, which contributed $30,000, 30 percent lost the lottery.
Color graphs and maps by county staff breakdown in stark detail the disparity in outcomes of the direct assistance program. They confirm for the first time that mobile home park owners and renters make up the majority of unincorporated county residents left behind.
The lottery was previously described as equitable by county staff, but this can no longer be said to be the case.
Johnson County contributed $2 million, Iowa City contributed $1.5 million, and Coralville contributed $30,000 to the program. 2,238 county residents were deemed eligible, but only 1,919 were approved.
Johnson County paid for more than half of the Iowa City residents who received aid, depleting county coffers for other in-need county residents. Instead of working together to cover everyone, Iowa City leveraged as much county money as they could to lower their own price tag, which depleted county funds for everyone else.
"County staff asked city staff to renegotiate the agreement on June 27 (but the city declined)," county staff reported to supervisors at today's 9am work session.
As a result, 319 county residents lost the lottery even as Iowa City was refunded $690,000. Mobile home communities have Iowa City post office box addresses, are part of the school district, and part of the broader community.
City and county elected officials in the past have vocally stated they support mobile home communities in their fight for affordable housing, but excluding them now from pandemic relief destabilizes all of those households who could use the stimulus checks to pay for increasing lot rents and utilities or upgrade their homes.
The directly impacted workers, Escucha Mi Voz members, and Catholic Workers are calling on city councilors and the Joint Entities to allocate Iowa City’s $690,000 windfall back into the 319 county residents who lost the lottery so that every applicant may be funded and made whole.
Fully funding all 319 remaining applicants with $1,400 payments would only cost $446,600, leaving nearly a quarter of a million in committed city money leftover and under budget.
The county also admitted technical barriers and other challenges are hindering their ability to deliver needed ARPA services. “Applicants faced technical barriers,” the new county report states. “Request strategic pause (of remaining ARPA projects) to pursue solutions to some of these barriers”.