The County Commissioners recognize that in order to succeed and grow in a healthy manner, the community must understand its current and future housing conditions, as well as unmet housing opportunities and needs. This type of study planning provides multiple benefits by documenting existing housing conditions, identifying market and other forces that affect supply and demand now and in the future, identifying gaps in maintaining equitable access to safe, resilient, and reliable housing, and identifying opportunities for improving and expanding housing options.
The primary goal of the Housing Needs Assessment and Market Study was to define what the major gaps are between current and projected housing needs and housing supply. The chosen consultant, Urban Partners of Philadelphia, specializes in redevelopment and revitalization planning and implementation, working with communities and projects throughout Pennsylvania and the United States.
The Housing Task Force saw the need to tackle things like modernizing housing policies, addressing the balance of short-term rentals, dealing with the lack of centralized sewer and water service in much of the county, meeting the challenge of absentee landlords and focusing on existing housing vouchers and waiting lists.
Wayne County faces the additional challenges of blight in some areas and aging housing stock, which in many cases is owned by seniors on fixed income who have limited means to maintaining them, and therefore, their independence. The needs assessment and market report help to clearly define those issues and offers some suggestion for how to do that.
The majority of the funding for the study comes from the Wayne County Affordable Housing Fund, created in 2020 with the implementation of a fee for each deed and mortgage filed in the County Register & Recorders Office.