TOPEKA — A year-long comprehensive statewide housing needs assessment—the first of its kind undertaken in 27 years—is nearing completion, and Kansans are invited to learn about preliminary findings in a series of regional community meetings. The study identifies current housing needs and growth opportunities, including goals to guide the state’s future housing development efforts.
A meeting will be held in Hays at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 7 at BriefSpace, 210 W. 10th.
“For too long, Kansas has operated without a strategic focus to guide our housing investment, hindering our state’s economic development,” said Ryan Vincent, executive director of Kansas Housing Resources Corporation. “With this information, we can develop a data-driven approach to support growth and benchmarks to track our progress.”
RDG Planning & Design, an Omaha-based consultancy, conducted the in-depth study over the past year. Analysis included a series of 71 virtual and in-person listening sessions with more than 425 community participants across the state, as well as meetings with housing stakeholder groups. Consultants conducted a statewide survey of more than 4,400 respondents and analyzed census data to develop a comprehensive picture of the state’s housing needs, current resources, and growth opportunities. These findings revealed several key goals to address future housing needs:
- Prioritize middle income housing
- Diversify housing stock
- Extend housing security
- Reinvest in older housing stock, including vacant units
- Address the building trades labor shortage
- Extend existing human capital resources
Kansans are encouraged to learn more about the study’s results and how their communities can expand housing opportunities by participating in upcoming regional sessions. The full report and recommendations will be published online following the statewide tour. Join KHRC’s mailing list and select “Housing Needs Assessment 2021” to be notified when the full report is available.
The state’s housing study was funded and administered by the Kansas Department of Commerce’s Office of Rural Prosperity (ORP) and Kansas Housing Resources Corporation (KHRC), the state’s housing finance agency. The Office of Rural Prosperity’s Housing Work Group, an interagency team of state leaders led by KHRC Executive Director Ryan Vincent, identified a needs assessment as a crucial first step in addressing the state’s housing needs and priorities, particularly in rural and underserved areas. KHRC and ORP selected RDG to lead the study through a competitive RFP process.