Cedar Falls, Iowa is part of the Waterloo/Cedar Falls metropolitan area. The economy of Cedar Falls has historically been heavily dependent on the University of Northern Iowa. A number of medium-sized industries, such as Viking Pump and Standard Golf, have established themselves in the community over the years and provided diversification of Cedar Falls' economic base. When the area underwent a serious economic crisis in the mid- 1980s, due to retrenchment at John Deere and the closing of Rath Packing Company, all facets of economic activity in Cedar Falls were greatly affected.
Cedar Falls will use $537,000 in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds for their Consolidated Plan in 1995. These funds will primarily be spent on housing rehabilitation, demolition of deteriorated housing, increasing accessibility of public facilities for handicapped persons, and other community and economic development activities.
To get the broadest possible input into the Consolidated Plan, a task force was assembled to solicit community input. The task force consisted of representatives from 24 public and non-profit agencies involved in housing, lenders, and the private real estate industry. One public meeting was held on February 21, 1995, during the development of the document. A draft of the Consolidated Plan was made available for public comment at the Cedar Falls Community Services Division on April 12, 1995, but no comments were received on the draft document.
MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.
In 1990, Cedar Falls had a population of 34,298. The city is a part of a Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) of 146,611, which includes the city of Waterloo (population 66,467) and the remainder of Black Hawk and Bremer Counties. Between 1980 and 1990, the population of the MSA declined 11 percent, while the population of Cedar Falls declined over 5 percent. These declines were largely due to an economic downturn in the mid-1980s. Since that time, the population has shown a slow growth pattern.
Three percent of Cedar Falls' population is nonwhite. Of this minority population, 36 percent are black, 46 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, and 18 percent are of other races\ethnic origins. The minority population is widely dispersed throughout the community.
According to the 1990 census there were 11,690 households in the Cedar Falls community. Twenty-four percent of all households had incomes below 50 percent of the HUD adjusted median family income (MFI) for the metropolitan area, while 15 percent had incomes between 51 and 80 percent of the MFI. Of those below 50 percent of the MFI, 24 percent were elderly households, while 31 percent of those with incomes between 51 percent and 80 percent of the MFI were elderly. The census tracts with the highest concentrations of poverty are in the northeast and southeast parts of the city.
MAP 2 depicts points of interest and low-moderate income areas.
MAP 3 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and minority concentration levels.
MAP 4 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, and unemployment levels.
The labor force in 1990 was 2 percent smaller than in 1980. This overall decrease was accompanied by changes in the composition of the labor force. A 44 percent decrease in the manufacturing sector was offset by a 34 percent increase in the professional, administrative/clerical, and service sectors. These reflect national trends and increased university employment. Since the proportion of manufacturing jobs was lower in Cedar Falls than in the rest of the metropolitan area, the impact of this loss was not as severe. Nevertheless it caused serious economic disruption. During the late 1980s and early 1990s, there has been a gradual recovery in manufacturing.
Transitional housing, particularly to serve families; supportive housing for special needs populations; and affordable housing opportunities for low-income persons, particularly for the elderly, African Americans, and large families, are the most critical housing needs in Cedar Falls.
There were 12,066 year-round housing units in Cedar Falls in 1990, of which 2 percent were vacant. A very low vacancy rate of actively available units suggests the housing market in Cedar Falls is much tighter than in the rest of the MSA.
Of the occupied units, 64 percent are owner-occupied and the rest are rental units. Since 1980, there has been a decline of 5 percent in the number of owner-occupied units, while the number of rental units has increased by 10 percent.
With regard to size, nearly half of the rental units available in Cedar Falls in 1989 were two bedroom. Most of the remainder had one bedroom. Only 18 percent of the rental units contained three or more bedrooms. Therefore, larger households are likely to have difficulty finding rental units of adequate size.
Recently, rebounding home sales and declining apartment vacancies have put upward pressure on housing costs. In 1989, the mean sales price in the MSA was $41,084, but rose to $48,357 in 1990, a 17 percent increase. Another 10 percent jump occurred between 1990 and 1991, followed by a 5 percent increase in 1992. According to the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Board of Realtors, the mean sales price of a home in 1992 was $55,981.
Data from the 1990 Census indicate a median gross rent for Cedar Falls of $329. More current data gathered through a combined effort of the four housing authorities in Black Hawk County (including the Cedar Falls Department of Developmental Services) shows that this is much lower than current rent levels. The more recent survey revealed a mean rent of $441 for one bedroom units, $529 for two bedroom units, and $690 for three bedroom units.
Housing cost burdens are substantial for low- and very low-income households. In 1990 over three-quarters of small (two to four member) and large (five or more member) households had housing costs exceeding 30 percent of their incomes, while 51 percent of the elderly households had costs exceeding 30 percent of their income. In Cedar Falls significant numbers of low-cost units are occupied by persons with higher incomes, thus making them unavailable to lower income households. Large households are overcrowded at a rate of 27 percent, in sharp contrast to 2 percent of all small renter families.
African-American households earning less than 50 percent of MFI have a higher incidence of housing problems than all other households in this income range. This suggests a need to pay particular attention to maximizing opportunities for affordable housing for this group, at the same time that the overall supply is being increased.
Efforts to deal with homelessness take place on a county-wide basis. These efforts are coordinated through the Black Hawk County Homeless Coordinating Board, which was established in 1988 to foster cooperation among local agencies serving the homeless, to review and approve agency applications for funds for the homeless, and to assist in the collection of data about the homeless and about services to the homeless in Black Hawk County.
The Coordinating Board's recent "point-in-time" survey of homeless persons seeking services revealed three unsheltered homeless persons, all of them single adults. An additional 43 families containing 227 individuals, plus 34 individuals not in families reported living with friends, relatives or in other temporary housing situations.
The Salvation Army operates the metropolitan area's only shelters, one for men and one for women and children. Between January and October 1993, the men's shelter averaged 14 unduplicated clients per month, and these clients stayed an average 2.5 nights. The shelter for women and children averaged approximately 5 women and 5 children per month, who stayed an average of 2.2 nights. A separate Homeless Outreach Project conducted by the Black Hawk-Grundy Mental Health Center found that 164 homeless or potentially homeless mentally ill clients were served by the Center in fiscal year 1994. Of this mentally ill population, 57 percent also reported a history of substance abuse.
Women and children fleeing domestic abuse are another important group seeking temporary shelter. The Family Service League's Crisis Services program, which operates a shelter for battered women and children, reported that it served 226 women and 332 children during fiscal year 1993-1994. Often these households are seeking transitional or permanent housing as an alternative to living in an abusive situation. However almost none of the transitional housing currently available in Waterloo or Cedar Falls can handle families with children.
Cedar Falls has no units of conventional public housing. The bulk of the assisted housing in the community is managed and operated by the Cedar Falls Department of Developmental Services, which currently administers 326 units of Section 8 certificates and vouchers. Approximately 55 percent of this project-based assisted housing is for the elderly. As of April 10, 1995, there were 252 families on the waiting list for assisted housing.
Data on the number of persons with various types of disabilities provided by Exceptional Persons, Inc. (EPI) are available on a countywide basis only. EPI estimates that in Black Hawk County, approximately 50 percent of the adult population is suffering from mental illness, mild retardation, or other disabilities require supportive housing. Of those suffering from moderate or severe retardation, 100 percent require supportive housing or institutionalization. The current waiting list for county services totals 182 persons. Many have been on this waiting list for several years.
The Cedar AIDS Support System (CASS) had 23 Black Hawk County clients in January 1993 who were HIV-positive or who had AIDS. By January 1994 there were 32 such clients, then 38 in March 1995. In 1994, CASS assisted 16 clients with housing needs, and they estimate that 20 of their current 38 clients may be in need of housing assistance. Based on current experience, it is likely that housing will be a critical need for at least half of future HIV-positive cases.
The main barriers to achieving affordable housing in Cedar Falls are a lack of financial resources and neighborhood resistance to the construction of housing for low- to moderate- income persons. Furthermore, rental housing remains in short supply in Cedar Falls, and lower income households must compete with University of Northern Iowa students for lower cost units. This competition has intensified in recent years because of increases in university enrollment.
A recent amendment to the State landlord/tenant law permits landlords to require a security deposit of up to two months rent from tenants. This may pose a problem for low- income persons seeking affordable housing.
Cedar Falls continues to be committed to policies which increase housing opportunities for racial and ethnic minorities, as well as persons with physical or mental disabilities. All of the priorities in the five year plan reflect that commitment. Additional fair housing activities need in Cedar Falls include public education and cooperation with the Cedar Falls Human Rights Commission's fair housing law compliance activities. A Fair Housing Analysis is scheduled to be completed in mid-1995.
Many of the older housing units in Cedar Falls are rental units occupied by very low-income households. These units are most likely to be the ones in which the highest risk of lead contamination exists, although not all of these units are likely to contain lead-based paint that is causing an immediate hazard. Between 1994 and 1995, 61 out of 80 properties inspected were found to have lead hazards. Sixty properties were treated during this same time, some of which had been identified previously.
In addition to the screening and abatement program already operated in the Black Hawk County Health Department, the Cedar Falls Department of Development Services will be cooperating with the Black Hawk County Health Department to abate lead hazards in houses in which children have been identified as having abnormally high levels of lead in their blood. The Department also acts to minimize lead hazards when rehabilitating homes with CDBG funds.
In 1993, Iowa was struck by the worst flooding in over 100 years. The Cedar Falls/Waterloo metro area fared better than many cities in the State, but there was significant property damage both in April and in July in low lying areas of the community. Cedar Falls has received $503,000 in supplementary Federal Community Development Block Grant funds and has applied for additional funding from the Federal Emergency Management Administration to assist damaged areas.
Community development needs in Cedar Falls range from continued support of social services programs for child/domestic abuse victims, to improvements in public facilities utilized by low- and moderate-income persons, and to historic preservation and revitalization of two areas of the city.
The Cedar Falls housing priorities are listed below:
The Cedar Falls community development and public service objectives are as follows:
The Cedar Falls Chamber of Commerce and the city's Department of Developmental Services are working in conjunction with the Cedar Valley Economic Development Corporation to attract jobs to the community which pay good wages or salaries. Cedar Falls has been successful in using its Industrial Park and other incentives to attract and retain manufacturing, wholesale and distribution firms in the city. Many individuals need assistance with education and job training in order to take advantage of new employment opportunities. Major agencies providing special programs to enhance the educational and/or employment opportunities of low-income persons in the metropolitan area include Area VII Job Training, Black Hawk County Department of Veterans Affairs, Department of Human Services, with alternatives to Aid to Families with Dependent Children, Hawkeye Community College, and Operation Threshold Inc.'s comprehensive case management family development programs.
Financially, the Consolidated Plan appears to rely almost exclusively on CDBG funds. Other potential sources of revenue include the Iowa Housing Authority's Housing Assistance Fund, several Black Hawk County housing assistance programs, and loans to nonprofit organizations.
Public and nonprofit organizations in Black Hawk County have established solid lines of communication and cooperation to deal with metropolitan housing problems. Almost all are represented on the Consolidated Plan Task Force and on the Black Hawk Homeless Coordinating Board. Further coordination is being fostered through the Community Housing Partnership. Membership includes a variety of organizations and agencies, bank representatives and neighborhood organization representatives interested in developing housing for low- and moderate-income persons.
MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 6 is a map, sectioned by neighborhood, which depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects.
MAP 7 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded projects within one of the four neighborhoods indicated in MAP 6.
MAP 8 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, unemployment levels, and proposed HUD funded project(s) from a street level vantage point.
Cedar Falls will undertake 14 Consolidated Plan projects during Federal FY 1995 utilizing CDBG funds. Major projects for the year include:
All Cedar Falls projects are citywide in scope.