Once again, RCED hosted a Dane Hansen community intern to assist in housing work. This internship is just one of many efforts by RCED to address the housing issue in the county. After a summer of research and work doing multiple projects, intern Kyra Lampe presented her findings to the community on August 4th. Her presentation first identified the time, funding, and research provided in housing efforts such as the Republic County Neighborhood Revitalization Program (2011 / 2016), FHSU Housing Study (2012), Countywide housing/landlord meetings (2014), Housing Assessment Tool work (2014-2015), KU MBA Jayhawk Consulting research (2016), North Central Regional Planning – Nuisance Abatement Pilot Program in Belleville (2018), the Belleville City Landbank (2019), and most recently the Dane Hansen internships in 2019 and 2020.
This year’s internship took a different focus from that of the previous year. 2019’s internship was focused on architecture and developing models for housing developments. This year, RCED took a step back to look at housing from a marketing perspective to match the housing needs of the community with the assets that are present. In order to do this, RCED worked on multiple projects throughout the summer to meet this goal.
The first overarching goal was to develop an existing housing marketing plan. This included improving the RCED website’s housing information, generating a county-wide survey, conducting meetings with housing stakeholders, launching the Republic County Home Expo, and promoting housing as well as housing resources through email and different media outlets. The county-wide housing survey helped to assess the demand for housing in the county and identify who was looking for housing. Not to mention, it highlighted the need for market-rate rentals, “move-over” housing for those wanting to downsize, and how people prefer to learn about housing options. As the survey is still open, RCED continues to receive feedback , but they are excited to see the ongoing results and gather more information on housing in Republic County.
In tandem with the survey, meetings with housing stakeholders such as landlords, realtors, or lumber yards also provided important information. It showed that there is an increasing demand for people to move to rural areas now that remote work is an increasingly viable option. Like the survey, the meetings also demonstrated the high demand for market-rate rentals, yet a lower demand for Section 8 and Section 42 housing units. Lastly, we learned that in terms of renovations and home building, there is a high demand for both, yet most work is done in renovations as that is a more realistic option for people.
Furthermore, the internship helped with the launch of a new project, the Republic County Home Expo. Modeled on the Lincoln County Real Estate Open House, the goal of the Expo was to stimulate the home sales in the county and promote local realities. RCED oversaw all marketing duties on multiple platforms including social media, RCED’s website, newspapers, and radio stations. The expo will run until August 31, in conjunction with the NCK Homeownership Program which RCED has continually promoted throughout the summer. Currently, there are 5 out of 12 spots remaining in the program. (UPDATE 11 of the 12 spots were filled by August 31st.)
Overall, the work and research completed throughout the summer has led to the development of potential action items for future consideration. Among these, include a workshop for landlords, the development of move-over housing, and the need to conduct a formal housing study. Overall, RCED is excited about moving forward with the information gathered from this summer and is grateful for the Dane G. Hansen Foundation for making this internship possible. To see the slides from the presentation, visit the link below.