County moves on with federal housing funds

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Help for county residents in purchasing a home came Tuesday, Sept. 15, when the supervisors approved eight policy documents required by the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program.

The county already was awarded $172,800 to assist low-to-moderate income home buyers with a down payment and attendant fees. The funds are provided from the federal government through the Iowa Economic Development Agency.

The documents included approving a two-year contract with the East Central Iowa Council of Governments (ECICOG) for great administration services not to exceed $75 per hour. The contract runs through Aug. 1, 2022.

Among the policy requirements are Equal Opportunity, Anti-Displacement and Relocation Assistance Plan, prohibition of excessive force, fair housing, and Code of Conduct. The conduct code prohibits any elected officials or agencies from profiting financially from the project. All of the policies are, as noted by Chairman Jack Sewad, Jr., “standard red tape.”

However, he had questioned the inclusion of the Excessive Force Policy in a block grant for housing, stressing in his letter to the IEDA, “…in this day and age, the use of excessive force is never acceptable.” The reply was it is not a new provision, but a federal HUD one dating to a 1990 amendment of the National Affordable Housing Act.  All requirements were approved unanimously by the board.

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