MOLINE -- Council members were upset over the results of a fair housing study, questioning if the sample size representing the city was sufficient to draw the conclusions found.

Jeremy Gray of Mosaic Community Planning, presented the results of the Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. Moline, Rock Island and Davenport were part of the study, which is required to be conducted by law.

One survey question asked if housing discrimination is an issue here. According to the results, 36% said yes, 46% said maybe and 18% said they do not know. Moline was the only city to have no respondents answer no. 

Alderman Mike Wendt asked what percentage of respondents were from Moline.

Gray said more than 200 total residents engaged in the process, and that he would get specifics to the council.

Ald. Kevin Schoonmaker said it is then possible maybe three Moline residents answered the survey. 

Gray said "sure." 

Ald. Sonia Berg asked where the studies were conducted. She asked if there was a sign in sheet there, and if the study was geared only toward the residents living in the Floreciente community.

Community Development Manager K.J. Whitley said one was held at the Esperanza Center in Moline, the Martin Luther King Jr. Center in Rock Island and a location in Davenport. She said the public was invited to attend, but the majority of the residents in attendance were indeed from the Floreciente neighborhood. An interpreter was also on hand for that meeting.

Another part of the study shows an area of the city with the highest proficiency for grades among students, provided by HUD, also showed an area behind the Walmart, the Cloverleaf trailer park area, in Moline as having some of the highest proficiency tests among students. Gray said it was based on standardized test performance at the fourth grade level, and attendance zones.

"I think there are some components of this that don't align with our intuition," Mayor Stephanie Acri said. "That particular area has been flooded, kids haven't even been going to school because they didn't have transportation to school the last three weeks. It is hard for us to buy."

Berg pointed out the diagram was from November 2017. 

"I know, but I'm just saying if you have that much restriction for transportation for getting those kids to school I doubt if their attendance is routinely better than the rest of the community," Acri said. 

Acri asked what area is the most important for the city to work on. 

Gray said Moline is doing many things very well, such as providing access for those with handicaps. The top two areas to work on, however, are a continued need for an increased supply of decent affordable housing and lack of geographic diversity in affordable housing choices.

Four key factors were considered: integration and segregation, areas of poverty, access to opportunity and and housing needs. The analysis had to take into consideration the department of Housing and Urban Development's final rule regarding fair housing as well. 

The rule: taking meaningful actions, in addition to combating discrimination, that overcome patterns of segregation and foster inclusive communities free from barriers that restrict access to opportunity based on protected characteristics. 



Gerold is a reporter for Dispatch-Argus-QCOnline.com.

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