IC officials proposing tweaks to UniverCity program

IC officials proposing tweaks to UniverCity program

Having rehabbed 65 homes under the UniverCity program, Iowa City officials say they may need to change the scope of the program due to a scarcity of homes which meet the current criteria.

New Neighborhood and Development Services director Tracy Hightshoe tells the city council in a memo they are having problems finding homes in the UniverCity Impacted Area which cost less than $200,000 and require less than $50,000 in repairs. She says to counter that, NDS wants to focus on fewer properties but which might be more expensive and require more work.

She's asking the council to approve raising the purchase price ceiling from $180,000 to $200,000 and the maximum repair figure by $10,000. She adds while they will continue to emphasize neighborhood stabilization with the program, they'll now try to reach that goal by focusing on "nuisance" properties.

Hightshoe says if they continue to struggle to find suitable homes, they may have to incrementally expand the boundaries.

UniverCity was started in 2010 to stabilize neighborhoods around the University of Iowa. Under the program, the city has spent more than $2.9 million on 65 homes, rehabbing them from rentals back to their original single-family intent. As part of the program, buyers must promise not to apply for a rental permit for the home for at least 30 years.

Hightshoe notes of the 59 homes the city has sold through the program, 19 have gone to families making less than 80% of area median income.
Filed Under :
Topics : Environment
Location : IowaIowa City
People : Tracy Hightshoe
Molly Suter