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Greater Burlington Partnership Releases Report

The Greater Burlington Partnership hopes a new report generates debate about how social assistance programs are used in Des Moines County.

The agency says the 77-page "Social Assistance Research Report" looks into whether people are moving to the county simply to gain quicker access to government assitance programs.

It was developed by Mark Foster, who is working as an intern for the partnership.

The report specifically focused on programs such as welfare, food assistance and Medicaid.

It implies that people are moving to Des Moines County for resources, in particular, available Section 8 Housing vouchers.

Partnership President Jason Hutcheson says this report is not meant to disparage anyone who is accessing government assistance.

Instead, the idea is to provide lawmakers with direct data and facts in the hopes of legislative changes.

"We don't want the main attraction to our community to be quick access to welfare-related programs," says Hutcheson.  "That is not good for any community."

Hutcheson says the report does not take into account how the recession impacted Des Moines County and its residents.

It also does not identify how many long-term residents are now utilizing government assistance programs.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.