City Times Staff
A Wisconsin Rapids housing study has reported the necessity for more affordable housing and increased multi-family units.
The housing study, released by the city over the weekend, will be presented to the public tomorrow night at 5:00 p.m. at city hall. Common council members will be briefed through a shortened version of the study presented at 6:00 p.m. the same night.
According to the press release, “The purpose of the Housing Study and Needs Assessment study was to evaluate how effectively existing housing meets community needs; anticipate future housing needs; and outline issues, opportunities and recommendations in the development of affordable and comfortable housing options.”
Results of the survey indicated that over 80% of respondents were homeowners with a third containing a household of two members. 30% of households were under the age of 18.
Nearly 64% of respondents stated that one or more members of their household were employed full-time and over 24% of respondents indicated a gross annual household income between $50,000 and $74,999.
Approximately 20% of respondents indicated a gross annual household income between $25,000 and $49,999.
More than 42% of respondents indicated they spent more than 30% of household income on rent and other housing-related expenses. Almost 88% of respondents indicated they lived in single-family homes.
According to the report, renters stated that the largest barrier to purchasing a home was the inability to afford a down payment, as well as existing debts. The study made the following conclusion:
- A need for increasing or adapting existing single/two-family and multifamily housing units, both for owners and renters, with a specific emphasis on providing housing options for young families and empty-nesters.
- The need for more quality and affordable housing options for both owners and renters.
- The need for a proactive and collaborative approach to property maintenance, compliance, and enforcement.
- The need to establish formal neighborhoods to ensure municipal revitalization efforts, while also establishing a “bottom-up grassroots” partner.
- The need for a proactive approach to counter often inaccurate perceptions and misrepresentations regarding affordable housing for seniors and low income residents.
The City of Wisconsin Rapids late last year contracted with Wisconsin-based planning and community development consultant Vierbicher Associates to conduct the study.
Wisconsin Rapids contracted state-based planning and community development consultant Vierbicher Associates to conduct the study. The study utilizes a analysis of housing supply and demand in Wisconsin Rapids compared with other communities with similar populations.
The study looked at demographics, residency/vacancy trends, sales figures, and single- and multi-family residence availability. Survey questions were generated in part from pre-survey interviews with a range of stakeholders, including developers, financial institutions, real estate brokerage firms, rental property owners and City staff.
“The widespread response of citizens who live, work, and play in the City of Wisconsin Rapids and surrounding communities was gratifying,” said Wisconsin Rapids Mayor Zach Vruwink. “We look forward to publicly sharing these results of this study, which marks an important milestone in our goal of meeting immediate and future housing needs.”
Complete results of the City of Wisconsin Rapids Housing Study and Needs Assessment can be found on the City Website at wirapids.org.