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Housing assessment group to be scoping out homes

Staff writer

Residents who notice someone peering at their house and taking notes need not worry or call police. They’ll be doing a house-by-house assessment of Marion homes as an early step toward getting grants for housing improvement in the city.

The second meeting of a panel dedicated to gathering facts about the status of housing in Marion met Tuesday.

Marion economic development director Randy Collett formed the group last month as the first step toward possibly getting funding to help improve Marion’s housing situation.

On Tuesday, the 12 participants set out to document population demographics including median household income, per capita income, unemployment, homelessness and average household size.

They will also gather data on characteristics of Marion housing, including median house value; median rent; number of occupied houses and whether they are occupied by owners or renters; number of vacant houses and whether they are rental units; number of deteriorated houses and whether they are occupied by owners or renters; number of dilapidated houses and whether they are occupied by owners or renters; and the number of single family building permits issued in the previous calendar year.

The difference between deteriorated and dilapidated housing is the cost of needed repairs, Collett said. If repairs can be made for a reasonable price, the house is considered deteriorated. If the cost would be unreasonable, the house is considered dilapidated.

Group members will divide up and drive Marion streets to document the condition of housing, Collett said.

The group is contemplating adding the county lake to the study area, but a firm decision on that idea has not been reached.

The work of the panel could open the door to funding to improve housing in Marion. According to Collett, Kansas Department of Commerce requires completion of a housing assessment tool before the community can move forward with any grants or funding available for housing projects.

The group will meet four more times and hope to have the work done by the end of June.

Last modified May 5, 2016

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