Take a survey to help Juneau solve its housing issues

By April 28, 2015 Stories
Juneau has a lack of affordable housing. The survey will help city contractors figure out how to solve that problem. (Photo by Justin Heard/KTOO)

Juneau has a lack of affordable housing. The survey will help city contractors figure out how to solve that problem. (Photo by Justin Heard/KTOO)

The city is asking residents to take an online survey to help solve housing issues plaguing Juneau.

City Lands Manager Greg Chaney says Juneau has a lack of affordable housing, which is housing that costs 30 percent or less of a person’s income.

“Many people in Juneau are paying 40, 50 – sometimes even more than that – percent of their income for their housing,” he says.

The city contracted with czb LLC in January for about $72,000 to come up with solutions to Juneau’s housing issues.

“Not to tell us that we have a problem. We know we have a problem,” Chaney says. “What we need to know is, how can we get out of this? How, as a community, can we have an affordable housing supply that meets the needs of the residents and people who want to move here?”

The city chose the Virginia-based company over a Juneau firm to put out a housing action plan. Chaney says czb has a proven track record dealing with housing issues.

Part of the firm’s work is conducting an online survey. It’s on the city’s website and takes about 15 minutes to complete.

“For the average person, I think it’s going to seem kind of strange,” Chaney says. “It’s very academic. Some of the language is a little thick. I think they could’ve said the same thing with fewer words and shorter words. But if you just read it a couple times and you figure out what the question is, do your best to answer it.”

For example, one of the questions asks, “Under which conditions, if any, would you be willing to consider additional height/stories and density beyond current code requirements/allowances?” Here’s another: “The future of Juneau hinges on successive generations of residents and stakeholders regularly reaffirming their values and acknowledging what they inherited from prior generations, not in words, but in deeds, policies, and programs. In your words, what if anything do you think is most essential to continuing this legacy?”

Besides the survey, Chaney says czb has been conducting other research. It’s interviewed Realtors and lenders, city staff, developers, community organizations and property managers.
The final report is due to the city in August.

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