County to survey local housing needs

Survey being sent out next week

Gunnison County is starting a Housing Needs Assessment to determine the need for housing in different price ranges in communities throughout the county.

 

 

Most of the data collected for the assessment will come from a 31-question survey being sent to “thousands” of county residents the week of March 9. Other questionnaires will be available on the county’s website, gunnisoncounty.org, and in several public places, like the post office, throughout the county, starting on Friday, March 6.
Only those people who are full-time residents of the county or have full- or part-time employment in the county are asked to participate in the survey.
According to housing director KT Gazunis, an assessment should be done every three years to track the changes in the housing market and the needs of county residents, but Gunnison County has not done one since 1999.
“When I was interviewing for the [Housing Authority director] job, they were anxious to get someone hired and going on the housing assessment, because it had been dragging on for so long,” said Gazunis.
The findings of the assessment will help guide the policies of the Housing Authority over the next few years, until another assessment is completed or the needs change dramatically.
The county chose Denver-based BBC Research and Consulting to develop the questionnaire and analyze the data that will be collected, “in part because they did the economic analysis for the city of Gunnison,” according to Gazunis. That experience will allow the firm to use data it had already collected for the assessment.
“We’ll have to wait until July to get accurate summer results. But by going with BBC, they might give us some ballpark information on summer results,” she said, pointing out that Gunnison is more heavily dependent on summer tourism than winter, and the opposite is true at the north end of the valley.
Questions in the survey probe people’s employment and expenditures on things like rent, transportation and utilities. It also asks the reasons renters have not purchased a home in Gunnison County.
Participants are asked to rank the importance of housing amenities, such as a garage or sunlight; neighborhood property features, such as garden space or pet friendliness; and location considerations, such as the availability of public transportation or proximity to schools. Other questions cover why renters haven’t purchased homes and what incentives they would need to enter the market.
“The county needs to understand which residents and workers can’t find affordable housing and have other housing problems. This will help the county create programs to better address residents’ housing needs,” according to the survey.
The surveys need to be returned to the county or sent to BBC—both addresses are provided on the survey—by the end of the day on March 31.

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