Study shows a need for more affordable housing in Muscatine

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A recent study shows affordable housing is hard to find in the city of Muscatine, especially low-income housing.

300 residents responded to the survey saying rent in Muscatine was too high compared to other Iowa cities. The average rent in the city is $762 compared to $707 in Davenport, and $652 in Burlington.

Residents also added there were not enough rental options to meet the needs of hourly wage earners. Another big factor, some families say they spend 70-80% of their income just on rent alone. City officials say one of the reasons for the lack of housing is the limited amount of space in the area to build new homes or apartments.

"The markets pretty tight, both if you're trying to purchase a home or if you're trying to rent the vacancy rate is pretty low, said Muscatine Housing Administrator, Jodi Royal-Goodwin. "So if you're really on a tight budget, it becomes even more difficult."

But the upside, 52 low-income apartments are in the process of being built in Muscatine, which can provide more than just a shelter for families, it's a huge benefit for their children.

"When we can get them places that give them the resources and help them grow earlier on to catch up, it makes them more successful in the long term and less likely to need affordable housing of their own," Royal-Goodwin.

City officials say only 40 housing units were added 2016, so 52 units is a big step for the city, but they hope to add close to 100 low-income housing units by late 2018.