Springfield Community Focus Report highlights a lack of safe and affordable housing

Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 9:25 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -Anyone who has been in the real estate market in the last few years knows finding a home can be a challenge. According to the Community Focus Report, one of the challenges or “Red Flags” people face is finding safe and affordable housing.

The pandemic slowed construction on new housing developments and then leading to an increase in construction costs. More college students sought off-campus apartments. Mix that together and you get a competitive housing market. Not only is there not a lot of available housing there is also a shortage of rental opportunities for renters with no rental history, evictions, or low credit scores.

“I think it is also tied a lot to our, our poverty rate locally, and is really something that’s just been emphasized over the last 18 months with the pandemic, is really how important having safe decent and affordable housing is,” said Amanda Stadler with Community Partnership of the Ozarks.

Federal assistance has provided renters relief funding. In January, Greene County received more than $8 million in rent and utility assistance. Several non-profits and civic groups have come together to distribute those funds and help those in need find necessary housing. The Community Focus Report recognizes this collaborative effort as a “Blue Ribbon” of the community.

“So collaboration, again, is a long-standing blue ribbon and something that our community does really well,” said Stalder. “There are multiple agencies offering assistance for a lot of those issues. So offering rent assistance and navigation for helping folks locate affordable housing or available housing.”

Springfield is home to many historic neighborhoods but old homes come with maintenance needs that can be costly.

“I was speaking with a household yesterday, and I think mold was an issue that was cited,” said Stadler. “Aging housing stock is another piece of that which was also identified in the Community Focus Report. And just things that happen as houses age, and when you have older housing, and they just need repair and upkeep.”

Housing instability is also a growing concern. While Springfield has a lower cost of living than some parts of the country, many people are one unexpected expense from losing their homes. According to the Community Focus Report, an individual in Greene County would have to work 68 hours per week at minimum wage to afford a 2-bedroom rental home at a fair-market rent payment of $836 a month. Community service groups are working to provide ways to keep people in their homes.

“Another one of our strengths is having that diverse array of options to meet people where they’re at with their housing needs.,” said Stadler. “I think another piece that will be coming soon, is different planning gaps analysis with different federal funding that is still coming into our community.”

For more information on the Community Focus Report, Click Here.

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