University of Missouri Extension

DM1301, Reviewed October 1993

What Are Our Community's Housing Needs?

Lelland L. Gallup
Department of Environmental Design

One basic need in every community, regardless of its size or location, is adequate shelter for present residents and potential new families. The generic term of housing involves far more than simply the erecting of buildings. It involves assessment of the total community — population trends, economic resources, technical resources, physical resources and social values.

The local housing market area

Like schools, hospitals, shopping facilities and services, housing within a given area is important to the desired growth of the community.

The community housing problems to be studied would include those within any given housing market area that involves more than the confines of a town, city or metropolitan area. Discussion considerations for the local area would include:

What constitutes adequate housing?

What community problems exist that prevent or make difficult the supply of adequate housing?

Are the people in the community aware of the housing needs that exist and, if so, are they interested in improving the conditions? Do they understand what choices of action are appropriate?

How many homes in the community do not meet minimum housing standards?

The basic minimum housing standard would include modern plumbing, indoor bathrooms, adequate lighting, adequate heating and a structure that is tight (windows, doors, roof, etc.).

What steps should be taken to provide adequate housing for the needs of the residents and to ensure the new homes being built will meet the future needs of the community? (Analyze population trends.)

Is building new housing units the only answer to the housing shortage, or is the rehabilitation of existing units appropriate?

Planning and developing a community housing program

To develop a community housing program, one must assume that there is a need for better housing, that the effort is important to community growth, and that the community would give it support. Discussion concerning the planning and development of the housing program for the community should include the following:

Using the following guide, what steps could you take to meet the housing needs of the community?

The data in the worksheets can help with this determination. This data would be collected by the local community officials, such as the city council, community housing committee or a special citizens group. The first step in the data collection process would be to collect and analyze the community for their income levels and types of residents. Next, an analysis of the available housing units within the community would be necessary to determine the numbers of housing units, by type, that are being lived in, those vacant and those needed.

The last two worksheets refer to the community resources and what is being planned for the community. This is one step in total planning and zoning for the community. Each worksheet is so constructed to allow for the past, present and future analysis of the housing needs. As an example, the worksheet "Housing relative to income level" could be based on 1970 for the first block, 1971 for the second and 1980 for the third. These worksheets then could be maintained and updated for future reference, then used to base predictions for future planning.


Contact your local MU Extension center and Soil Conservation office for materials dealing with subjects related to home building such as zoning, ordinances, suitable soils for septic tanks and building of sewer lagoons.
DM1301 What Are Our Community’s Housing Needs? | University of Missouri Extension

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