Study aims to boost housing efforts

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp. expects to finalize a strategy to improve housing quality in the city in May.

“We’re in the data collection phase of putting together a housing strategy for Youngstown,” said Ian Beniston, YNDC’s executive director. “We plan to put together a strategy to improve existing housing resources and develop opportunities for new housing.”

The agency is working on two fronts to gather information, he said.

The first is a market analysis being done by Bowen National Research, a Pickerington firm. The $35,000 study is being paid by the city and the Finance Fund, a Columbus-based organization that assists underserved communities.

“A third-party market analysis will help attract developers,” Beniston said. “The data is good information for knowing where we are and to help us move forward.”

The market analysis is expected to be completed in March.

The other aspect is an online survey to garner input from the public. The survey can be filled out at surveymonkey.com/r/ytownres and will be online into next month.

The survey asks questions such as describe the overall housing market in Youngstown, name the top three issues negatively affecting the city’s housing market, do you believe it is difficult for people to find suitable housing in Youngstown, what type of housing types and styles are needed and what is the most significant housing issue facing the city.

“The overall goal is to improve housing quality,” Beniston said. “This will help us determine what we need.”

The initial draft of the citywide housing strategy from public feedback is to be done in April with a final draft presented to the public a month later.

These efforts come after YNDC completed a citywide housing occupancy and quality survey of all residential structures.

The results showed the number of vacant residential structured had decreased by 48 percent from 3,514 in 2016 to 1,841 last year. Also, 1,022 of the vacant structures last year were tax delinquent.

YNDC incorporated in December 2008 and started operating in January 2010. YNDC is a citywide neighborhood planning and development organization.


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