GOSHEN — Addressing vacant and abandoned homes and neighborhood conditions are among the top concerns Goshen residents have about housing, according to a survey that paints a clearer picture of needs in the area.
The Indiana Association for Community Economic Development revealed countywide survey results Monday, March 10, at a workshop in Goshen that invited local leaders to review the data. The information collected includes the types of housing needed in the county, affordability, what the community’s housing concerns are and the condition of homes in the area.
The survey had roughly 300 responses. Rose Scovel, the state association’s director of capacity building, said while it was not a scientific survey, the response rate was typical for a community of Elkhart County’s size. The county has roughly 31,569 residents, according to a mix of U.S. Census data and information from the bureau’s American Community Survey spanning 2010 to 2012.
More than half of the surveys were filled out by Goshen residents. Almost 63 percent of the respondents owned their own home, and renters paid an average of $742 per month. Roughly 42 percent of the survey takers spent more than 35 percent of their household income on rent.
More than half of the respondents indicated they lived in a neighborhood with unkempt homes, and when asked about barriers to housing choices, the top two responses were the conditions of housing and the cost. Others were concerned about unoccupied homes in their neighborhood.
Elkhart County, the cities of Elkhart and Goshen, LaCasa Inc. and Habitat for Humanity contracted the state association to conduct the survey, marking the first housing assessment in the area in 10 years. Local governments, organizations and housing agencies use the data when applying for grants.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.