Three area nonprofits will purchase the remaining city-owned public housing stock in Davenport, after the city council and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development approved the sale this week.
Davenport sold its low-income apartment building, the Heritage, to an out-of-state nonprofit in 2020. The sale of the 42 units in 21 properties scattered across Davenport marks the final step in the process of city aimed at removing rental management. real estate of its functions.
“We are (the city) an assistance type organization or a regulatory type organization, we are really not in the business of owning and managing rental properties,” said Bruce Berger, director of community planning and economic development of the city.
Berger said each household renting from the city would receive a housing voucher to find alternative housing if they wish. Money from the sale will also be used to provide relocation assistance to tenants who cannot afford a security deposit in a new apartment.
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Tenants living in all but four of the 42 sold households will be able to stay in their units if they wish, Berger said, because Vera French and Ecumenical Housing Development Group accept Section 8 housing choice vouchers.
The city plans to donate four single-family homes to Habitat for Humanity to sell to eligible homeowners.
The current tenants of these houses would have the possibility of acquiring and becoming owners thanks to the program of Habitat. If unsuccessful or refused, tenants would receive a voucher to find alternative housing, Berger said.
“It will always be affordable housing. It will be affordable homeownership in this neighborhood,” Berger said.
The Bettendorf-based Ecumenical Housing Development Group intends to purchase 24 units across 14 properties for $240,000.
Vera French Housing in Davenport plans to purchase 14 units across three properties for $200,000.
Sam Moyer, director of the Ecumenical Housing Development Group, said the purchase would add to the organization’s 162 homes in the Quad-Cities.
“It’s currently low-income affordable housing. We’d like to keep that going,” Moyer said. “That’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve been doing it for about 30 years.”
Berger expected the city to transfer the property before the end of the year, likely in the fall, allowing time for tenants to move out if they wished.
Judith Lee, alderwoman for Davenport’s 8th Ward, said council members and city officials have been discussing the transition for more than two years and she’s “very pleased” with the deal to give properties to non-profit affordable housing organizations in the area. Lee visited families who lived in public housing in her neighborhood, about half of the city-owned housing, she said.
“They liked it there, they didn’t want to have to move,” Lee said. “..They had built communities where they lived…It was very important that these scattered housing sites were not sold for profit and continued to be affordable housing for the communities.”
Alderman of At-Large Kyle Gripp said Davenport City Council members had instructed city staff throughout the process of selling its public housing to ensure the units remained affordable and well-maintained. .
“Really I think the way you get decent affordable housing is you have good solid non-profits like the ones listed here to be partners and continue to make sure it’s about decent housing,” Gripp said.