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MU students present findings on safe and affordable housing survey

Friday, May 10, 2013 | 9:37 p.m. CDT; updated 9:56 p.m. CDT, Friday, May 10, 2013

COLUMBIA — Poor-paying jobs and a low supply of affordable housing are the main barriers to accessing affordable housing in Columbia, according to a study by MU students.

Truman School of Public Affairs students Josh Meyer, Jacob Pickett and Samuel Christensen presented a report to city officials and residents at City Hall on Thursday. They shared findings of a survey assessing the barriers to safe and affordable housing, according to a Community Development Block Grant news release.

The study targeted low and medium-income people and surveyed 133 respondents online and in person earlier this year.

Approximately 37 percent of the respondents earn less than $15,000 a year and account for 8.5 percent of Columbia's population. Additionally, less than 30 percent of residents who make less than $40,000 a year represented nearly 75 percent of the population surveyed.

The study might inform investments through the federal programs Community Development Block Grant and HOME, which address affordable housing needs in Columbia, according to the release.

The findings included:

Barriers to safe housing:

  • Largest barriers are broken doors/windows and incomplete plumbing facilities largely due to water leaks.

Barriers to affordable housing — in the order of most cited obstacle — were:

  • Low paying jobs in Columbia
  • Inadequate supply of affordable housing
  • Poor state of available affordable housing
  • Disinterest in affordable housing
  • Insufficient public transportation near available affordable housing
  • Lack of information on affordable housing assistance afforded by the city
  • Poor credit ratings which keep away low and medium-income residents from affordable housing
  • Public schools are not satisfactorily near affordable housing
  • Discrimination when looking for affordable housing
  • Most affordable housing does not meet household disability needs

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