Dubuque Won’t Force Landlords to Accept Housing Vouchers

LEGAL OR NOT?? Does this violate every HUD / Fair Housing rule

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) — Dubuque will not force landlords to lease to people who get federal
rental assistenace.

On Monday, the city council decided to not make that a requirement for the city’s Housing Choice Voucher program, or Section Eight.

The discussion comes at a time when there’s a high demand for the low-income housing units. The city currently has more than 900 people using the vouchers. More than 600 people are on the housing choice voucher wait list. As this week’s count, the city only had only 24 units available to rent.

Chris Olson and her daughter Lena, love having Grandma live in Dubuque. But finding an apartment that would accept Grandma’s housing voucher was a real pain.

“She’s very low income. She makes less than 12 thousand dollars per year. So we need to find a place was safe,” said Chris Olson.

The city says too many people who have a federal housing voucher experience that same struggle.

Last year, the city council considered forcing all landlords to accept tenants who having housing vouchers. But landlords argued that mandate was unfair.

For the past several months several landlords were part of a city committee to figure out how to fix the housing unit shortage.

“We as landlords found a lot of units that do accept the vouchers and they weren’t contacted or even know there were people with vouchers looking for units,” said Maro.

On Monday night, several people said the city council was essentially allowing discrimination by letting landlords refuse tenants based on how the tenant pays.

“Our culture in this city has a strong discriminatory feel to it,” said Dubuque resident Matthew Zanger.

Some city council members say this whole issue has turned into one big fight.

“Please don’t blow smoke at me and tell me that there isn’t a problem with bad landlords in the city of Dubuque. If you’re a renter please don’t blow smoke at me there isn’t a problem with bad landlords in the city of Dubuque. And don’t blow smoke at me and tell me that there aren’t tenants who leave property trashed because they do,” said city Council member Kevin Lynch.

The city says it will work on better education and communication about the housing program. The council with check in at least once per year to see if the education is going to make housing more available to everyone who qualifies.

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