NEW ALBANY — Findings from a housing study reported by the City of New Albany on Thursday reiterated the need for affordable housing in the city.
The study, according to the city’s news release, showed that the selling price of single-family homes has increased by 74.2% in the past five years. The steep increase in cost can be associated with the increase in demand, the news release said.
The city’s news release stated that people are buying homes but there is not enough stock to keep up with the need and the shortage is becoming an issue for New Albany’s growth and safety.
The need for affordable housing and the lack of it prohibiting safety are sentiments shared by Executive Director of Haven House Services Barb Anderson.
“[What we have is] not affordable for people who make under $15 an hour,” Anderson said. “It takes upwards of $2,300 to move into an apartment. If you’re earning $10 an hour, where are you going to save that kind of money?”
Anderson noted that there are many people that have to live in hotels while waiting for housing, which can be draining to their bank accounts and prevent them from saving enough to afford moving into a rental unit.
“We have to really study about how we approach housing and I think we have to do it more humanely than we have done it,” Anderson said.
Some of the recommendations she had for changing the current approach to housing is putting a limit on deposits, logically controlling rent and supplementing builders to encourage cheaper rent. She said that realistically, there needs to be housing at $500-$600 a month.
Anderson shared several stories of clients struggling to afford rent or struggling to even move out of a hotel because of funds. “They’re always fighting to catch up, and it’s because the housing costs are out of line with our reality,” she said.
When it comes to the safety of those in the city, Anderson pointed out that winter is coming so addressing the issues of housing needs to happen seriously and quickly.
“If we don’t do something about the housing costs we are going to see increased families in the street,” Anderson said.
The city stated that over 900 units are under construction, including apartments, single-family homes and town homes. The city is also planning to use American Rescue Plan funds to help with growth, home ownership and housing improvements.
The news release said that in the last 10 years the city has focused on improving the quality of life for its residents, especially by investing in parks, infrastructure and schools, and that people want to live in New Albany to be near these amenities.
From 2010 to 2020, the population of New Albany has increased by 4% according to data from the United State Census Bureau.
The New Albany Redevelopment Commission will meet Tuesday at 2:30 p.m. via Zoom when the findings from the housing study will be mentioned.
The News and Tribune requested the full report Friday and Monday mornings but had not yet received a copy as of Monday evening.