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Wednesday, April 16, 2014

County seeking survey responses on area’s housing condition and needs

Local governments and housing agencies are conducting building assessment of needs for future development.

Posted on Jan. 16, 2014 at 12:00 a.m.

ELKHART — Local governments and housing agencies have teamed together with the Indiana Association for Community Economic Development to release a survey to county residents that will help identify areas of housing needs.

Rhonda Yoder, planning and zoning administrator for Goshen, said the area hasn’t conducted a housing assessment since 2004.

Local governments and housing agencies need current data when filling their requirements for Community Development Block Grants and other housing grants.

Elkhart County, the cities of Elkhart and Goshen, LaCasa Inc. and Habitat for Humanity have contracted with the IACED to compile and analyze the data gleaned from the surveys.

“We are acting as a consultant, doing the research and survey work, public participation work and putting together the action plans,” said Rose Scovel, the IACED’s director of capacity building.

The surveys are one of several sources of data the IACED is using to develop the county’s housing needs assessment.

Scovel said the organization is also looking at census data and any other housing information it can find.

She said the IACED hopes the survey gets enough responses to give a general idea of local housing needs.

The data will be used to create a picture of types of housing needed, what groups might be underrepresented in housing and the general condition of housing throughout the county.

Scovel said the study will focus primarily on Elkhart County, Elkhart and Goshen. Those three entities will receive action plans specific to their situations.

The rest of the incorporated and unincorporated areas in the county will be looked at to a lesser extent. Those areas will not get tailored action plans.

County residents wishing to participate in the survey should visit www.surveymonkey.com/s/N9CBGVF. An email from Yoder said responses will only be aggregated and individual responses will not be identified.

The survey will be available until Feb. 15.

Scovel said the assessments and action plans will likely be delivered sometime in April.

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