by Maryann Dennis Executive Director, The Housing Fellowship
Shelter in decent, affordable housing is not a luxury. It is a necessity upon which access to other necessities and the development of healthy, productive families and communities most often depend. Nothing is more essential to the welfare and dignity of men, women and children. Nothing is a more basic right than the opportunity, regardless of income or class, to live in the kind of home which supports the welfare of the family and community.
Whether persons of limited income have access to adequate housing is at its heart a question of justice and central importance. (Massachusetts Episcopal Diocese, 1986). For 25 years The Housing Fellowship has worked to answer that very question.
If folks can afford their housing costs, including rent, utilities and insurance and they like where they live – they stay. Stable affordable housing helps to keep adults in jobs and kids in school. Stable families contribute to stable neighborhoods and stable communities.
“Thank you for helping me move to a brand new home. We are truly blessed.”
The Housing Fellowship is the only non-profit housing developer providing permanent, affordable rental housing to low-income families in Johnson County. We own and manage 171 attractive and well-kept homes scattered throughout Iowa City, Coralville and North Liberty.
We provide housing for over 600 people including over 350 children. Our families stay an average of 53 months; a long tenure and a chance for less household mobility and increased stability.
All of our neighbors need an affordable home
Seventy-four percent of the heads of households are employed full time. Many provide us with services we all use regularly; caring for elderly persons in their homes and in care centers, working with persons with disabilities, fixing our cars and selling us groceries and other goods. The average household income is just over $22,000 which translates to approximately $10.60/hour. The hourly living wage in Johnson County for a single parent with one child is $28.07. Iowa City is the most expensive place to live in Iowa.
The Housing Fellowship applies for and accepts public financing, mostly federal dollars passed through to the State or local jurisdictions. We partner with several banks that provide hard debt. With this combination of financing sources we are able to build or purchase homes that fit into neighborhoods and are indistinguishable from surrounding homes. Rents for a two bedroom range from $550 - $750 and three bedrooms from $620 - $990; significantly lower than area market rents. The Housing Fellowship accepts Housing Choice Vouchers.