Connecting People with Services

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Yesterday, I attended the forum on rural housing in Earlham. I knew that affordable housing, especially low- to mid-range, was hard to find around here, but it’s troubling that it’s such a widespread issue. Fortunately, there is some work being done.

I visited some with Acting Lieutenant Governor Gregg, mostly to let him know that we have a program in Winterset that builds an affordable home each year. I touched base with the Union County development director; Wayne is a sharp man who has been talking about housing needs for a long time, and is one of the first people to draw it to my attention a few years ago when I was doing some work with/for him in Creston and Afton.

There are some financing programs that can provide opportunities to lower income would-be home buyers, and I wonder how widespread the knowledge on that really is. Something I’ve been considering lately is the disconnected communication between the possible services that can help people, and the people who can use them.

I’m an example of that, in a small way. I interviewed every department head in the county before I committed to running for this office. One question I had for the director of Public Health was “what’s something that would surprise people about health in Madison County?”

Stacey told me two things:
1) We have a surprisingly high incidence of cancer.
2) We have a lot of radon, and many people don’t make the time to check for it.

I asked how that can happen, and she sold me a $10 radon detection kit right then and there. Our results came back extremely high, and we then installed a radon mitigation system, which has the nice side effect of keeping the basement dryer.

If I hadn’t had that momentary opportunity in that chance exchange, we might have lived with a dangerously high level of radon for 10 years or more.

How do we do a better job of letting people know what’s available? If elected, I’ll work hard to find answers to this question.

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