Hailey Schultz is a third-year student at Loras College. While at Loras she has volunteered with Urban Plunge, written promotional materials for the local Habitat for Humanity chapter, interned with St. Mark Youth Enrichment (a local after-school program), and worked in childcare. These experiences, combined with her course work in sociology and history and her own family’s experiences with housing insecurity, have deepened Hailey’s understanding of poverty and the systemic ways it is perpetuated. She is passionate about exploring models for safe, affordable housing in rural communities that will not only benefit her home community, but potentially other rural communities in the Midwest as well. Specifically, Hailey is researching housing cooperatives and land trusts as potential avenues for addressing the affordable housing crisis and as a means for transforming economically depressed neighborhoods.
I have grown up in Dubuque and have always felt a close tie to the town. It was this connection to the community that made me want to stay in Dubuque for school. My second year at Loras College, I was drawn to the Urban Plunge service trip where I saw firsthand how people in Dubuque struggle with finding affordable housing. My mother has worked in property management for more than 10 years. Through this, and other experiences like interning at St. Mark Youth Enrichment and creating promotional materials for Habitat for Humanity, I have learned of the high costs, substandard conditions, and restrictions for low income families, causing a need for more affordable housing. Places such as Iowa City, Iowa and Madison, Wisconsin have established organizations such as housing cooperatives to help create more safe, affordable housing options. The Newman Fellowship will provide me the support I need to gain an even deeper understanding of the affordable housing shortage in Dubuque and to continue researching possible solutions such as housing cooperatives.