Topeka City Council hears study analyzing housing needs

Published: Feb. 11, 2020 at 10:25 PM CST
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A study is complete analyzing housing needs in the Capital City and Topeka's governing body heard about it during this week's city council meeting.

The City of Topeka has partnered with the St. Louis real estate consulting firm, Development Strategies, to conduct a citywide housing market study.

Mayor Michelle De La Isla said, "Now we have a better understanding of what the gaps are and they're going to make suggestions of what programs we could be using. We know that there is a gap for funding. We need to have those dollars to develop that Affordable Housing Trust Fund. We have the policy, but we don't have the funds."

6 months into the study, the firm said three themes stood out to them.

"There is a lot of housing that is affordable, but may not be quality and needs to be renovated and brought up to safe quality standards," said Justin Carney with Development Strategies. "The other theme is recognizing housing has an economic development component to it. The third kind of key theme is that ecosystem and really understanding that there are partners that all play different roles. Helping the city understand what those partners do well, so that they can move the needle on affordable housing."

To tackle those housing needs they shared six strategies with the governing body.

The City Council then discussed the issues and asked the firm for concrete steps going forward.

Mayor De La Isla said, "I think it's going to be a next important step to say if these are the recommendations, how do you suggest we execute them and then the governing body be able to choose one or two of those."

The consulting firm will return in April to give a final report.

The study is costing the city about $95,000.

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