United Community Services of Johnson County seeking public input on housing experiences and opinions in survey

“If I’m not stably housed, or if housing absorbs a disproportionate amount of my household income, how is that impacting other aspects of my health? By not having as many renter responses, we lose some of that voice in the conversation," said Julie Brewer, executive director of UCS. Above, a file photo of Brewer at last year's summit.

United Community Services of Johnson County earlier this month released a survey to collect public input on the housing market of the county.

As a joint effort with Johnson County and local cities, the Johnson County Municipalities Community Housing Survey allows people who live and/or work in Johnson County to share their experiences with housing, opinions on the current status of housing in the county and preferences for housing options across all stages of life.

The survey is part of a countywide housing study already underway. UCS Johnson County will release the findings from the survey as part of the 2020 Johnson County Housing Market Study report, which will be used to draft a 10-year outlook on housing for local leaders to use for future policymaking.

UCS Johnson County reported that in 2018, 20% of homeowners with a mortgage and 43% of renters were considered to be housing-cost burdened — or paying more than 30% of their gross income on housing.

Julie Brewer, executive director of UCS, said increased housing costs impact the community in a number of ways.

“When families pay increasingly larger proportions of their income on housing, they experience negative health impacts,” Brewer said. “These may include foregoing basic medical care, moving frequently or facing evictions, high stress levels that impact physical and mental health, long commute times, limited money for healthy foods, and a lack of quality social connections with family and friends.”

The survey will be open through the end of July and is available online and paper in English and Spanish.

Brewer said UCS will work with employers later this summer to offer workplace surveys for employees.

Early results from the survey and data collection/analysis will be the focus of this year’s UCS Human Service Summit, which is set for Aug. 26 at the Johnson County Arts and Heritage Center.