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Dawn Cameron, who directs federal housing programs for the city of Davenport, makes a point about how everyone, regardless of income, wants to feel safe in their neighborhood. In center is Lee Marbach, a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity-Quad-Cities and a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church, Davenport, and at right is Jim Richardson, president of the Ecumenical Housing Group.

Several action issues rose to the top Friday as a group of 15 people discussed affordable housing in the Quad-Cities at the Quad-Cities Housing Cluster office in Davenport.

Of the 15, most represented nonprofit groups that work on housing, but there also was a landlord, a city of Davenport employee and a mental health expert.

The issues:

• Cities need to better enforce housing codes so landlords keep their property in good repair. There also was recognition that some landlords slip beneath the inspection radar because they don't register.

• Buy-in from a neighborhood is essential for any outside program to succeed, but achieving that can be difficult.

Kristi Crafton, executive director of Habitat for Humanity-Quad-Cities, said her experience is that sometimes "what they (residents) wanted was really different from what people thought they needed."

• Many people, renters as well as would-be homeowners, need consumer education; that is, help with budgeting or knowing the responsibilities of renting an apartment or owning a home.

• Systemic problems in society that keep some people from earning a living wage need to be addressed. A person can't save money if paying for essentials takes everything.

• No one wants to live in a neighborhood with crime, and that includes poor people. Dawn Cameron, with the city of Davenport, said she has seen some success with the police department's NETS (Neighborhoods Energized to Succeed) program in which residents of a neighborhood get to know police officers, so they feel comfortable calling and nipping problems in the bud.

• Churches might be enlisted to work more on issues in their neighborhoods.

Alma Gaul

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