Affordable housing, rental regulations and alleviating homelessness will be addressed in an event at the ICPL

League of Women Voters Sunday Speaker Series: Affordable Housing

Iowa City Public Library, Meeting Room A — Sunday, March 18 at 2 p.m.

For rent sign — photo courtesy

Housing issues in Johnson County will be the subject of a panel discussion at the Iowa City Library on Sunday afternoon. The discussion will feature Crissy Canganelli, executive director of Shelter House, realtor and commercial real estate appraiser Casey Cook and Tracy Hightshoe, director of Neighborhood and Development Services for Iowa City.

Topics will include efforts to address homelessness in Johnson County. Shelter House, an Iowa City nonprofit that serves the needs of the homeless, is starting a major new phase on a project that uses the Housing First approach. Housing First prioritizes providing stable, long-term housing for individuals experiencing homelessness. The housing is intended to provide a secure platform that allows other problems to be dealt with.

This approach has been particularly successful in helping people experiencing chronic homelessness. In Utah, chronic homelessness decreased by 91 percent in the decade following the state’s adoption of Housing First.

Shelter House is constructing an apartment building in southeastern Iowa City as part of its Housing First program.

“In part, because of the very limited housing stock in Johnson County, and in Iowa City in particular, we determined we would build the units ourselves,” Canganelli told Little Village in November. “We purchased a site in October of 2016. It [will be] a two-story building, with 24 one-bedroom apartments and onsite office for case managers, and a clinic for behavioral and health issues.”

Construction on the building is scheduled to begin this spring.

The panel will also discuss the impact of Iowa City’s new regulation regarding the rental market. In December, the city council passed a regulation that caps the number of new rental permits for single family homes and duplexes at 30 percent of the housing stock in a neighborhood.

“What we’re looking to avoid is landlords just chopping up dining rooms, living rooms or any room to add more bedrooms to increase the occupancy,” Stan Laverman, senior housing inspector for Iowa City, told the Press-Citizen in December.

A 2016 report on trends in housing inequality in Iowa City noted that as “a college town, Iowa City has seen many of its core neighborhoods reshaped by rising demand for student housing near the campus and downtown area.” That focus on student housing, along with a demand for more suburban housing, has created a situation where there is “very little affordable housing is available for [Iowa City] low-income households.”

The two-hour panel discussion, which begins at 2 p.m., is the final event in this year’s League of Women Voters of Johnson County’s Sunday Speaker Series.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »


Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.