QC housing professionals brainstorm about affordable housing

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Quad Cities (KWQC) - Housing professionals from Moline, Rock Island and Davenport met in three focus groups this week to discuss housing needs in the area.

Brett VA / Flickr / CC BY 3.0 US

A director of research, who looks at housing needs around the country, was invited by all three cities to hear out the local housing professionals.

Tim Gottgetreu, Western Economic Services Director of Research, said it's not just people in poverty who spend too much of their income on rent.

Gottgetreu said 6,000 renters amongst the three cities spend over 50% of their income on rent.

“Overall in all three cities we see housing affordability is an issue,” he said. “Rent and housing costs have been increasing faster than wages have been increasing. So we see increasing housing problems and severe cost burdens.”

Gottgetrue said housing affordability around the country is a big issue.

“It’s a hard issue to tackle because it’s intertwined with so many other things like jobs, demographic trends and we see the population declining in all three cities. That presents its own housing problems.”

Gottgetrue said while finding affordable housing is a national problem, the Quad Cities has unique issues that make housing affordability more complicated.

“We’re in two different states. So that adds bureaucratic hand-tying off the bat,” said Gottgetrue. “Rock Island and Moline are smaller than Davenport but the federal government HUD looks at the actual numbers of the population of the city. So Davenport gets more funding than Rock Island or Moline based on that. Although, if you look at them as an MSA it would make more sense to combat the housing affordability crisis as a group.”

One of the people who gave Gottgetreu input on the issue is Colleen Small-Vollman, Rock Island Budget and Grant Manager.

She said housing professionals from Rock Island, Moline and Davenport all have the same mission to make housing affordable.

“Sometimes it’s a little disheartening but we are all making progress,” said Small-Vollman. “You saw all of these people here today. They all want to see housing move forward and make it available. There are all kinds of groups working on it. Their hearts are all in the right place.”

Now that the focus groups are over, Gottgetreu said he will compile research obtained over the three discussions.

He said he will present the information to city council members of Moline, Rock Island and Davenport in February.

Gottgetreu said the information will go towards a five-year planning process for the cities to try and get more money from the federal government.

If you’d like to contribute to this research you can visit this survey link.