JoCo commission OKs funding for portion of county-wide housing assessment

Julie Brewer, executive director of United Community Services of Johnson County. UCS will take the lead on the housing study in Johnson County.

The Johnson County Board of County Commissioners last week approved the expenditure of $50,000 toward the cost of a county-wide study to assess the area’s housing inventory and needs for the future.

Housing affordability issues has gained prominence in Johnson County in recent years, as more and more residents have struggled to find jobs that pay enough for them to afford to live here. United Community Services of Johnson County, the non-profit organization that analyzes data on human services in the area and organizes efforts for collaboration between the county, city governments and other groups, has raised concerns about the growing issue of housing affordability in Johnson County, making it a key message at this year’s Human Services Summit.

UCS will oversee the study, which is forecast to cost about $110,000. Seventeen of Johnson County’s 19 cities have agreed to contribute to the remainder of the cost not covered by the county’s allocation. The organization is expected to deliver the report in October 2020.

“Assisting vulnerable populations is a top priority for our Board, which includes working with others in the community to address the issues of those who are cost-burdened, housing insecure and homeless,” said County Chair Ed Eilert. “This study will supplement other work currently being done in the county on this issue, including research on the connection between housing and the health of the Johnson County community.”

The report is expected to include the following:

  • demographic and economic profiles of Johnson County residents
  • countywide housing profile
  • countywide economic analysis
  • resident surveys
  • employer surveys
  • rental property owner and manager surveys
  • recommendations on state and local policies

This fall, The Journal, the Kansas Leadership Center’s quarterly magazine, devoted an issue to housing affordability issues, including the growing prevalence of the problem in the state’s most populous county.