In Search of Solutions for Oklahoma’s Affordable Housing Needs

August 29, 2016
By Steve Shepelwich, Senior Community Development Advisor


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The results of a statewide assessment of Oklahoma’s affordable housing needs were on display this summer in a series of forums presented by the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing and the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City.

Six Regional Housing Forums were used to seed discussions across the state about the information and findings from the Oklahoma Housing Needs Assessment. The assessment, completed in late 2015, provides a county-level analysis of the affordable housing needs for low-income to moderate-income households, and addresses community issues such as fair housing, lead-based paint and disaster resiliency. 

The forums were presented to promote understanding of the assessment’s results in a regional context, gain insights for using the findings and expand community connections to affect local housing needs.

The assessment was conducted by a public/private partnership of Integra Realty Resources of Tulsa and Oklahoma City, the Division of Regional and City Planning at the University of Oklahoma College of Architecture and DeBruler Inc. The Oklahoma Department of Commerce and the Oklahoma Housing Finance Agency commissioned the study with funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through the Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery program.

The report, including thematic overviews and county-level data, is available at http://oklahomahousingneeds.org/.

The Kansas City Fed and the Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing partnered on six forums in both rural and urban locations throughout the state. More than 220 participants representing developers, real estate agents, bankers, city and county officials and affordable housing advocates attended.

Several themes ran through the forums. The assessment’s focus on affordable housing availability and quality, disaster resiliency, homelessness, fair housing issues and lead-based paint hazards was interrelated in terms of affordable housing policy, housing development and disaster preparedness. Effective policies on affordable housing can mitigate the effect of natural and manmade disasters by encouraging the development and preservation of safe, secure and disaster-resilient housing for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable populations.

The Oklahoma Coalition for Affordable Housing is focused on bringing together industry experts and advocates in a single housing movement to empower people and organizations to inform their policymakers that everyone should have the opportunity to live in a safe, affordable home. More information about the coalition and the Regional Housing Forums is available at www.affordablehousingcoalition.org.