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Talking About Social Justice in IC

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Dozens of people spent their Saturday talking about social justice and how to make positive changes in their neighborhoods.

It's part of the Community Conversation series where groups discuss topics to identify opportunities and problems in the community.

"It seems like communication and housing are two patterns that I've seen in these conversations," UI Communications Graduate Fellow Bailey Kelley said.

Dozens gathered at the Iowa City Public Library to discuss topics relating to social justice. But many brought up the issue of having to pay a high price to live in downtown Iowa City.

"If you're earning not just minimum wage but even above minimum wage but still below the average, it's pretty hard to afford living in Iowa City," Sally Scott said, Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition Chair.

Scott said the main issue is there are no vacant apartments or houses downtown.

In fact, most students say they have a hard time finding a place, let alone something that's cheap.

"Just being able to live where they work or if they students living near the school," Scott said.

She said the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition wants to make sure affording housing is dispersed throughout the Iowa City area, so she understands the need for cheaper places to live.

"It affects a lot of different communities and it also has a broader effect. If you're primarily paying 50 percent of your income to housing, that means that you don't have as much to spend on healthy foods or the local economy," Kelley added.

The group said money isn't the only barrier for some trying to find a place to live.

"We were just focusing on discriminatory practice of landlords in the area and wanted to do something about it," Iowa City Council Member Kingsley Botchway II said.

The next step, Botchway said would be to form tenant associations, change ordinances and set up discriminatory action for landlords.

"Maybe we can do something from a political standpoint," he said, adding he wrote down several different issues discussed Saturday to take to city council.

Housing issues that these folks hope they'll be able to change to create a better community for future generations.

"If there's opportunities for us to collaborate and lift the burden for all of us and so we can support each other," Kelley said.

Other discussions Saturday include communication between different communities, having a central place, like a website or book, to highlight community events and ask the city to hire a community organizer.

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS 2/FOX 28)--Dozens of people spent Saturday talking about social justice and how to make positive changes in their neighborhoods.

It's part of the Community Conversation series where groups discuss topics to identify opportunities and problems in the community.

"It seems like communication and housing are two patterns that I've seen in these conversations," UI Communications Graduate Fellow Bailey Kelley said.

Dozens gathered at the Iowa City Public Library to discuss topics relating to social justice. But many brought up the issue of having to pay a high price to live in downtown Iowa City.

"If you're earning not just minimum wage but even above minimum wage but still below the average, it's pretty hard to afford living in Iowa City," Sally Scott said, Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition Chair.

Scott said the main issue is there are no vacant apartments or houses downtown.

In fact, most students say they have a hard time finding a place, let alone something that's cheap.

"Just being able to live where they work or if they students living near the school," Scott said.

She said the Johnson County Affordable Housing Coalition wants to make sure affording housing is dispersed throughout the Iowa City area, so she understands the need for cheaper places to live.

"It affects a lot of different communities and it also has a broader effect. If you're primarily paying 50 percent of your income to housing, that means that you don't have as much to spend on healthy foods or the local economy," Kelley added.

The group said money isn't the only barrier for some trying to find a place to live.

"We were just focusing on discriminatory practice of landlords in the area and wanted to do something about it," Iowa City Council Member Kingsley Botchway II said.

The next step, Botchway said would be to form tenant associations, change ordinances and set up discriminatory action for landlords.

"Maybe we can do something from a political standpoint," he said, adding he wrote down several different issues discussed Saturday to take to city council.

Housing issues that these folks hope they'll be able to change to create a better community for future generations.

"If there's opportunities for us to collaborate and lift the burden for all of us and so we can support each other," Kelley said.

Other discussions Saturday include communication between different communities, having a central place, like a website or book, to highlight community events and ask the city to hire a community organizer.

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