Johnson County gets closer to dividing up pandemic relief funds

Published: Oct. 20, 2021 at 5:58 PM CDT
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IOWA CITY, Iowa (KCRG) - Johnson County is ending its public input sessions on how to divide up the American Rescue Plan funds.

Their last public input session is on October 27, with the first hour dedicated to presenting information gathered from the previous sessions. Afterward, Donna Brooks with the Johnson County Board of Supervisors says they are left to prioritize how much will go out, and to who.

“The board has, from the very beginning, prioritized providing direct payments to residents previously left out of stimulus payments whether that is because of undocumented status or incarceration or even persons experiencing homelessness, but we have to understand these issues before we solve them,” Brooks said.

Brooks said part of the funds could go toward an eviction diversion program with an estimated budget of $75,000 annually.

Rachel Lehmann works toward homelessness prevention with Shelter House in Iowa City. She said the potential funds could help eliminate homelessness in several ways.

“There’s a finite source of funding, so if there is a renewable funding source, we’re going to be able to prevent people from experiencing homelessness and that is such a destabilizing experience,” Lehmann said. “Even having to worry that you may lose your housing can be very stressful.”

After next Wednesday’s session, the board will move into a series of work sessions that Brooks says should move them closer toward a final decision on the pandemic relief money.

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