Resident surveys to support housing needs assessment development in Cedar Falls

CEDAR FALLS — A task force working with the Iowa Northland Regional Council of Governments is asking city residents for information on housing needs.

The group has developed strategies to improve and expand life opportunities in Cedar Falls. However, the results that the task force hopes to glean from a recently released survey will be an essential component in the development of a housing needs analysis.

The survey is available online at A paper version is available by calling (319) 235-0311 or emailing [email protected]

According to INRCOG Executive Director Brian Schoon, the survey has no set deadline but will be available at least until the end of November.

Cedar Falls Economic Development Corporation is paying the agency and the University of Northern Iowa’s Institute for Decision Making up to $44,550 to provide leadership in developing the assessment. The city council was originally supposed to pay for it, but delayed funding as part of an effort to slightly reduce the city’s property tax increase for the 2022-23 tax year.

“We will use this survey to shape our strategies,” Schoon said. “It’s short and relatively easy to record from a computer, tablet or smartphone. We have a QR code and a link. It also has a few unanswered questions.”

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“It’s an opportunity for them to give their opinion on housing and reflect on their own needs and experiences,” he added. “What do you think as a resident? What is your perspective?”

An “enthusiastic” task force was assembled and helped formulate the preliminary strategies.

Its members have been “excited about it” since the beginning of this year, Schoon said. They’ve already examined data such as median home values ​​and rents, periods when homes are available for sale or rent on the market, affordability factors, and housing versus income, to name a few.

Focus groups and windshield surveys—or observations gathered while driving around the city—were also responsible for formulating the initial strategies.

“We may need to go back to the tentative list and reconsider or reprioritize some things,” Schoon said. “Have we missed the mark, or do the polls confirm what we have?”

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The city, together with various organizations and groups, will be responsible for the implementation of several strategies. Broadly speaking, they fall into categories ranging from redevelopment and programming to regulations and property/unit/lot availability, to name a few.

The primary goal is to ensure clean, decent and affordable housing for everyone. This is similar to the motive behind an earlier request by the Cedar Falls Racial Equity Task Force to complete an evaluation.

The results will also help justify requests for grants and tax credits, which could bring certain types of housing to the area.