The Gazette covers City Hall, now a flood-damaged icon on May's Island in the Cedar River

Posts Tagged ‘Jumpstart’

Gov. Culver calls out the TV cameras on Tuesday to sign bill that forgives Jumpstart housing loans in five years, instead of the current 10

In City Hall, Jumpstart on April 20, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Gov. Chet Culver is making a big deal about it.

His office on Monday announced that Culver would hold a public ceremony on Tuesday in Iowa City to sign a new law that benefit flood victims who have gotten Jumpstart housing assistance.

Until now, those receiving the assistance got it in the form of forgivable loans that took 10 years to forgive. The change in the law will make the loans forgivable in five years.

“Thousands of Iowans have benefitted from the state’s Jumpstart Iowa Housing Program since it was created last fall,” Culver said in a press release on Monday. “With this legislation, we are giving a little more help to these who have already suffered so much.”

Culver will sign the new legislation – passed unanimously by both the Iowa Senate and Iowa House – at Old Capitol in Iowa City on Tuesday afternoon. Culver will be using Old Capitol as his office for the day.

Last Friday, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, announced that the Jumpstart housing matter had passed the legislature and was on the way to the governor’s office. Hogg was one of the bill’s proponents.

Two months ago, at a nighttime neighborhood meeting in the Time Check Neighborhood, flood victims spoke to city officials and Iowa lawmakers. On that night, shortening the period of the Jumpstart forgivable loans to five years was one of the requests. Neighbors noted that Jumpstart business loans were for five years, why couldn’t the housing loans be? they asked.

That night, City Manager Jim Prosser said City Hall would see what it could do. Hogg was on hand that night, too.

City Hall’s lobbyist, Larry Murphy, was among lobbyists pushing lawmakers in Des Moines to make the Jumpstart change.

State lawmakers from Cedar Rapids deliver again: Jumpstart housing loans now forgivable in 5 years, not 10, once governor signs the bill

In City Hall, Floods, Jumpstart, Rob Hogg on April 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm

It has gnawed at flood victims who have received Jumpstart housing funds for months: That the money has come in the form of forgivable loans, which take 10 years to forgive, while Jumpstart funds for businesses are forgiven in five years.

This week, though, the Iowa Legislature passed a new law and sent it to Gov. Chet Culver that will make the term of the Jumpstart housing loans now in place and to come five years instead of ten years, Sen. Rob Hogg, D-Cedar Rapids, confirmed Friday.

Hogg, who credited Sen. Wally Horn, D-Cedar Rapids, with managing the bill through the state senate, said the measure was somewhat controversial simply because of the work required to change the terms of a large number of loans. But he said the Iowa Department of Economic Development has said it was committed to taking the work on.

Hogg noted that some Jumpstart housing awards were made with state dollars and some with federal Community Development Block Grant funds, and he said the state will have to amend its CDBG arrangement with the federal government so that both sources of forgivable loans are treated consistently.

Jon Galvin, a flood victim and Jumpstart recipient as well as vice president of the Northwest Neighbors Association, on Friday said shortening the time period on the forgivable loan from 10 years to five years puts the homeowner on the same level as the business owner.

Galvin, a retiree, says who knows how long he and his wife might live.

“At our age, our kids would be or could be still paying off these liens at the 10-year rate,” he said. Now, he said he might get out of debt again “before I leave this world.”

Local Jumpstart office upbeat; new infusion of state, federal money enough to meet commitments

In City Hall, Floods on February 5, 2009 at 12:29 pm

Gov Chet Culver is in town this afternoon to open a new Rebuild Iowa Office office and, no doubt, to talk about the $56-million disaster-relief bill he signed earlier in the week.

City Manager Jim Prosser says the city expects $20 million of the amount, with $10 million going to the local Jumpstart office.

The local office is a city operation, and the city has contracted with two nonprofit agencies to run the place.

The $10 million in new state Jumpstart money coming to the local office is the amount the office reported it needed just a week ago. The state money is particularly helpful because it has fewer strings attached to it than more plentiful federal funds, called Community Development Block Grant money. In fact, some needing housing assistance here would have had to go without but for the new infusion of state Jumpstart money.

Doug Nelson, who is running the local Jumpstart office as project manager for the Affordable Housing Network Inc., was feeling pretty good Thursday about the office’s mission.

Not only is the office getting $10 million more from the state – Nelson said it’s actually $9.6 million – but the federal government also has committed to allocating $18.8 million in CDBG money, up from $13.5 million.

In total, the local office now has a total of $35 million, an amount that Nelson says will satisfy most of the office’s commitments to date.

“I feel really comfortable where we’re at from a funding perspective,” Nelson said.

Understand, the office is following a formula that only pays part of what homeowners with flood damage need to repair a house or buy another one if it is beyond reasonable repair. The office also pays mortgage assistance on damaged homes that owners aren’t yet back in.

The local office’s work has been slowed not only by a lack of funds but also by the pace at which the funds were being made available.

The slowdown was coming, in part, because of the need for the state of Iowa to check funding awards against payments made to homeowners earlier from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and private insurers.

Sufficiently slow has the checking process been that the City Council last week loaned the local Jumpstart office up to $6 million to help get checks flowing to contractors rehabilitating homes and  for downpayment assistance for owners whose flood-damaged home can’t be repaired.

Nelson said the office will begin using city money by Friday or Monday. He said the office also had a new pot of $1 million in federal cash to make payments.