Housing Assessment Added to County’s Comprehensive Plan

CLEARFIELD – The Clearfield County Commissioners amended the county’s comprehensive plan to include a Housing Needs & Market Assessment at Tuesday’s regular meeting. Prior to the meeting, the county conducted a public hearing for the same and neither heard input for nor against the amendment.

Planning Director Jodi Brennan said in 2009, the commissioners initiated several new housing projects, which were designed to complement and enhance their existing housing resources. The commissioners formed the county’s housing taskforce and the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. With input from the newly-formed taskforce, she said the county’s Planning and Community Development office prepared an in-house Housing Needs & Market Assessment for Clearfield County.

She said the assessment contains statistical data, an inventory of housing initiatives, programs and resources, a housing stock analysis, a housing market analysis, data on home affordability and availability, a blighted structure inventory and tool kit, a code enforcement inventory and analysis, results of both the municipal official and general public survey on housing and a needs assessment that includes recommendations and possible funding mechanisms.

Brennan said some key findings were:

  • There’s a shortage in affordable and available rental units for lower income renters, especially in the 0 percent to 30 percent Area Median Income (AMI) range and the 0 percent to 50 percent AMI range in Clearfield County.
  • The number of work hours per week at minimum wage to afford the fair market rent of a two-bedroom apartment is currently 62 hours per week.
  • A householder between the ages of 15 years and 24 years and 65 years and older is more likely not to be able to afford a median valued home of $80,000.
  • Additional tools are needed to assist municipalities in addressing blighted properties owned by absentee property owners. More than 300 blighted structures were reported and inventoried by municipal officials.
  • In terms of homelessness, the results of the residential housing survey indicated that individuals and families are “doubling up,” or living with others, in the county due to the inability to afford housing.
  • Residents are reporting that they’re having more difficulties affording utilities and heating bills than paying their rent or mortgage.

Brennan said the assessment will be a useful tool for all housing agencies and advocates who rely on such data to support program funding requests. She said it will also be useful for the county when it’s identifying priorities for County Affordable Housing Trust Funds. She said it will help the county meet the eligibility requirements in applying for housing-related funds generated through the Marcellus Shale impact fee legislation, Act 13.

For more information on the Clearfield County Housing Needs & Market Assessment or to become a partner of the taskforce, please contact the Clearfield Planning & Community Development Office at 814-765-5149.

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