Sioux City has been awarded for its response to housing needs during the coronavirus. The City of Sioux City Neighborhood Services Division has been selected as the 2021 COVID-19 Housing Response award winner by the Iowa Finance Authority. Staff were presented with the award today at the Housing Iowa Conference in Cedar Rapids.
The City was awarded for the new Neighborhood Services Division Outreach Office, as well as the emergency shelter program which provided temporary housing in hotels to those experiencing homelessness. The award recognizes "an initiative that was implemented in immediate response to needs created due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Developers will be able to build 36,450 new housing units to help address Iowa's growing shortage. That's because Iowa is allocating $100 million of its federal coronavirus relief funding to build new homes in the state. Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that today at the housing conference. The money comes from The American Rescue Plan Act funding. That is being added to more than 230 million dollars the Iowa Legislature allocated over five years to Iowa's tax credit programs.The 100 million dollars will be split among several existing programs, plus a new pilot program to improve housing access for minority groups.
As the rate of new COVID-19 infections remains high in Iowa, the state's top health official says they are working on more rapid testing options. Interim state Department of Public Health Director Kelly Garcia says testing is widely available across the state. But the department is seeing some issues for those who need rapid testing. Since mid-July, the state's Test Iowa program has offered mail-in testing kits that can be requested online or picked up at certain locations. Iowans who need a rapid test are encouraged to check options at local pharmacies or urgent care facilities. But they should avoid seeking tests at hospital emergency rooms.