Following the creation of an affordable housing trust fund and task force in 2019, and building on the holistic vision set forth in the Momentum 2022 community plan, the City of Topeka set its sights on understanding the housing landscape to ensure the availability of safe, quality, affordable housing in the city. From affordable to market-rate housing, there was a keen desire to understand what is available and what is needed. Key to the effort was understanding how effective existing programs are, what new programs are needed, and what partnerships need to be formed/expanded to provide housing that meets the needs for all Topekans across age and socioeconomic status.
Development Strategies was hired to conduct a Comprehensive Citywide Housing Market Study and Strategy, with the following key elements:
Provide an understanding of existing market conditions, barriers, and opportunities.
Conduct a housing demand study using various methodologies to quantify demand for all types of housing over the next 20 years.
Evaluate the feasibility of a variety of housing development types in different submarkets in the city to identify what types of projects are financially feasible, where gaps exist, and to inform strategies about where to focus future efforts.
Engage the Steering Committee, neighborhood groups, and other stakeholders throughout the process to build trust and foster community buy-in.
Recommend strategies that build on the existing work of the city, and others, to improve and expand the availability of quality housing.
Define implementation steps for priority recommendations, including funding the affordable housing trust fund and prioritizing fund actions, establishing a strategic land bank, and expanding existing high-impact programs.
The study was formally adopted by City Council in July 2020, and the City moved to identify seed funds for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The City also engaged Development Strategies to assist with their HUD 5-year Consolidated Plan and Analysis of Impediments as follow-up work.