Burlington a Magnet for Emigrants?
The Burlington area seems to be a magnet for emigrants from other states right now according to research done by Greater Burlington Partnership Intern, Mark Foster. Unfortunately, the reason behind the attraction to our area isn’t something most tax payers want to hear. Foster has found that Tenant-Based Section-8 Housing Vouchers are the clear magnet…
“Metropolitans such as Chicago tend to have their waiting lists filled consistently and it can take up to 10 years to receive assistance. Where as Micropolitans like Burlington, and rural areas in Iowa, tend to have shorter waiting lists where a voucher is easily attainable.”
Not only has the request for Section-8 Vouchers gone up, Medicaid and Food Assistance has also seen an increase. Absolute correlations are difficult to prove but Foster says the increasing trends are likely to have some link to Section 8.
There is one program that has seen a decrease in utilization and that’s the Family Investment Program -as most would understand it-a welfare check. Foster’s research has shown that the reason for the decrease in FIP is that it requires recipients to meet certain criteria each week, such as working or looking for a job. So whats the action plan? Jason Hutcheson from Greater Burlington Partnership has a suggestion…
“What we want to do is use this as a platform for other discussions. It’s now time with the facts in front of us, our elected leaders must act. They cant run from this anymore because the data that they asked for is being presented to them. There’s no reason for no action at this point.”
In 2012, an estimate of 80 to 100 million tax payer dollars (in the form of local, state, and federal) were distributed for social assistance programs in Des Moines County.