U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
Office of Community Planning and Development

Consolidated Plan Contact


Dubuque's 1995 Consolidated Plan constitutes a strategic vision for housing and community development for the city. This document summarizes the plan so that citizens in the community can have a quick overview of the housing and community development problems; the 5-year broad objectives and actions proposed to meet those goals; and specific projects for carrying out this strategy during 1995.

Action Plan

Major activities include loans for residential rehabilitation; financial assistance for economic development; commercial and industrial building rehabilitation loans, and industrial sites planning; housing trust fund for non-profit housing and homeless organizations; acquisition and resale to homebuyers or affordable rentals; intensive inspection for housing code enforcement; loans for first-time homeownership; lead paint hazard abatement; rental assistance vouchers; matching grants for public services; seed money for multi-purpose senior center and support for a neighborhood recreation program.

Citizen Participation

Building on the citizen participation for the development of the Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy, for Consolidated Plan, the Community Development Commission held a public hearing to identify and rank needs and strategies for housing and public meetings to discuss further the needs and proposed projects. Concurrent public comment sessions were held by the City on its first Comprehensive Plan since 1965. The Plan was adopted by the City Council in March 1994 with goals for fourteen sectors of the community were analyzed, including housing, land use, economic development, public safety, recreation and infrastructure. A city-wide "visioning" process called Vision 2000 also set a cohesive direction for the tri-state area's future. Following other hearings, the City Council adopted the Consolidated Plan on May 1, 1995.


The City of Dubuque, population 57,546 in 1990 (an 8% decline from 1980), is located along the Mississippi River in northeastern Iowa, adjacent to Wisconsin and Illinois. The city has a stable and diversified manufacturing base, a labor force 35% above national average in productivity, and 5% unemployment. It is the major tri-state retail, medical and educational center. It has the third highest housing costs among the 12 larger cities in the state. Only 2% of the population is minority with a majority living at lower income levels.



Six census tracts contain high concentrations of minorities, low income populations and older housing units that demonstrate the need for housing assistance. A walking survey revealed various defects, including rotting porches, missing railings/supports; sagging steps; windows boarded up or with cracked, broken or missing panes; roofs with holes or missing shingles. In these six census tracts the percent substandard rental ranged from 15.4 to 58.4; the percent substandard owned ranged from 16.7 to 42.9. These areas exhibit high concentrations of older, larger buildings. All but one census tract lost units since the 1980 census.

Housing Needs

The shortage of housing units is most severe for those requiring larger (3+ bedroom) housing units. Demographic changes associated with an aging population and more single- parent households have created a demand for more multi-family housing. Recent construction of multifamily structures has been for condominiums and not for rental.

Housing Market Conditions

While housing units increased slightly (less than 1%) between 1980 and 1990, the city's overall occupancy rate remained unchanged. About two-thirds of all units are owner- occupied, but since 1970 ownership has declined by 3%. Since 1990, rental units increased by 203 units, mostly multifamily. Vacancies declined from 7% rentals to 5.8% and from 1% to .9% for owner properties. Overcrowded rental units increased. Over 40% of the housing stock is over 50 years old.
The smallest percent of rental units affordable for those with incomes up to 50% of the HUD adjusted median family income (HAMFI) are those with three or more bedrooms. The percent of rental units of various sizes that are affordable for renters with incomes up to 30% HAMFI decrease dramatically from the numbers available for renters with higher incomes. Relatively few rental units of any size are available in the city for families living in extreme poverty. Less than half of 2 bedroom owner units and only a third of 3+ bedroom units are affordable for those with incomes up to 50%; less than 10% of 3+ bedroom units are affordable for those with incomes up to 30% of HAMFI.

Affordable Housing Needs

Median contract rents increased 42% while median family income rose 30% between 1980 and 1990. An income of at least $20,400 would be required to "afford" a $54,185 averaged priced house; however, 5,603 households (26.3% of all households) make less than $15,000 a year.

Homeless Needs

Four emergency shelter, two "transitional" shelter facilities, and one non-emergency shelter are in operation. Three other agencies provide housing related services to homeless individuals and families, and five other agencies provide services to the homeless.

Public and Assisted Housing Needs

Dubuque has no public housing. The City administers annual contributions contracts for 899 units of Section 8 housing through the Housing Services Department which functions as a "municipal housing agency." Applications for additional Section 8 Housing Vouchers have been denied by HUD for the past three years. As the initial 15-year contract will expire in 1996, re-funding by HUD is a concern. There is a waiting list of 748 households in need of Section 8 assistance. The list has increased by about 50% since 1991; 35-50 new applications are received monthly while 12-15 units turn over. The wait varies by type, on average between one and two years. Other assisted housing provided by private agencies maintain full occupancy and have lists with waiting times ranging from two months to one year.

Barriers to Affordable Housing

Barriers include the cost of gaining conditional rezoning approval for affordable housing development due to neighborhood opposition; lack of subsidy for those whose incomes are sufficient to permit them to function independently in the private housing market; reliance on CDBG/HOME funds as a primary source to support City housing programs and administrative costs; no linkage between major new commercial/industrial or residential subdivision development and affordable housing retention and/or production; real/perceived zoning and subdivision ordinance constraints to the development of affordable housing; and singular public works standards for sidewalks, curb and gutter, sewers and streets which allow little room for alternative, less costly designs.
While over half the land area is zoned residential, the vast majority is for single and two- family, and only 2.7% for multi-family residential.

Fair Housing

The fair housing analysis was taken from the 1994 CHAS. It identifies impediments and offers one solution: that a greater percentage of the CDBG monies be allocated for promotion of fair housing and low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The City will complete an analysis of impediments to fair housing by February, 1996 with the assistance of the John Marshall Law School Fair Housing Legal Support Center.

Lead-Based Paint

Over 40% of the city's housing stock was built pre-1940 and more than 90% was constructed by 1979. Since lead was not banned from paint until 1978, a considerable lead hazard is thought to exist. Approximately 13,000 low income renter and owner households are estimated to be occupying residences with some incidence of lead-based paint.

Community Development Needs

High priority non-housing community development needs, in ranked order, are

-affordable quality child or dependent care; in-home services to elderly; affordable health care; enhanced neighborhood recreation programs in low/moderate income areas; domestic violence services; money to pay for education and training; family self-sufficiency case management; information and referral network and counseling; substance abuse services; child care resource and referral services; economic development loans with at least 51% of jobs to benefit low/mod income people; employment opportunities in low/mod income neighborhoods; youth employment opportunities; enhanced programs for youth to reduce gang and youth violence activity; and crime and gang awareness/prevention activities.


Vision for Change

A community visioning effort --Vision 2000 -- combined with the city Long Range Planning Commission's planning for the comprehensive plan, and the consolidated planning process, have served to bring institutions together to plan for a common vision for the community. The Plan sees neighborhood development as a critical link to the health of the community.

Housing Priorities

Housing priorities are low interest loans for residential rehabilitation; acquisition and resale of properties to homebuyers or at affordable rents; loans for first time home buyers; provision of rental assistance vouchers; intensive housing code inspection; and abatement of lead paint hazards.

To deal with the needs of homeless persons, the City will prevent the increase of homelessness for at-risk individuals and families by continuing and expanding the Family Self-Sufficiency program; help homeless people make the transition to permanent housing and independent living by establishing local homeless "contact" as advocate and one-stop coordinator of homeless services, and apply for additional Section 8 rental assistance payments; increase the availability of emergency shelter and transitional housing facilities to meet anticipated needs by identifying facilities to rehabilitate and local agencies or individuals to own and administer emergency, transitional and/or single room occupancy facilities and utilizing the Housing Trust Fund to provide resources for development of transitional housing facilities.

Non-Housing Community Development Priorities

Economic development goals rank high in both the strategic plan and the action plan. CDBG funds are targeted to both new industry and existing local small businesses to encourage the expansion of good paying jobs in the community. From the list of needs above, the following are proposed to be completed by June, 1996: new downtown child care center; neighborhood recreation serving 750 youth; family self-sufficiency case management for 35 households; information and referral network and counseling for 14,000 people; child care referrals for 300 youth; economic development loans with at least 36 jobs for low/mod income people; and enhanced programs for 35 youth to reduce gang and violence activity.

Anti-Poverty Strategy

The City will cooperate with the new State driven welfare policy to empower individuals and families to leave or avoid poverty. It involves a new commitment by service providers and clients. The Annual Plan will assist in supporting families in moving from dependency to self-sufficiency through small business and microenterprise assistance, and child care referral, and housing assistance.

The City's Housing and Community Development strategy targets assistance to businesses located within the city's low-income areas and offers financial and technical assistance to low-income entrepreneurs entering the marketplace.

Housing and Community Development Resources

The City has no public housing but administers 899 units of Section 8 housing through its Housing Services Department, which functions as a municipal housing agency.
It makes use of a wide range of HUD programs.

Coordination of Strategic Plan

Efforts to coordinate housing services include a number of interagency task forces and strong positive ties among area service providers. The City will continue existing efforts to coordinate and collaborate with other housing and community development providers in the community in an effort to maximize service delivery. The City also facilitates coordination of economic development efforts through a team approach. Regular staff-level meetings are held among all agencies involved in economic development including public, private and non-profit organizations.


Description of Key Projects

Residential rehabilitation low interest loans $625,000
Economic Development financial assistance, $350,000
Commercial, industrial building rehabilitation loans and industrial sites planning, $250,000
Housing trust fund for non-profit housing and homeless organizations, $100,000
Acquisition and resale to homebuyers or affordable rentals, $90,000
Intensive inspection for housing code enforcement, 81,000
Loans for first-time homeownership, $70,000
Lead paint hazard abatement, $37,800
Rental assistance vouchers, $180,000
Matching grants for public services, $125,000
Seed money for multi-purpose senior center. $50,000
Neighborhood recreation program, $69,500
Other activities, under $50,000: lead paint hazard abatement; neighborhood sidewalks and parks and cleanup; family self-sufficiency counseling; zoning inspection, historic preservation, tool library.

Lead Agencies

City of Dubuque Department of Community and Economic Development, Community Development Commission


MAP 1 depicts points of interest in the jurisdiction.

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.

MAP 5 depicts points of interest, low-moderate income areas, minority concentration levels, and proposed HUD funded projects; in addition, a table provides information about the project(s).

To comment on Dubuque's Consolidated Plan, please contact:

James D. Burke
City of Dubuque
Department of Community and Economic Development

PH: (319) 589-4210

Return to Iowa's Consolidated Plans.