Renters and Essential Workers Experience Housing "Cost-Burden"
The latest fact sheet from UCS explores whether residents in essential jobs can afford to live in Johnson County, especially considering the economic consequences of COVID-19. Housing represents one of the largest expenses in a household budget, and where one lives can impact access to schools, jobs, and community resources. Housing costs that exceed 30% of household income have historically been viewed as unsustainable and an indicator of an affordability problem; the term "cost-burdened" is used to define this indicator.
In Johnson County, approximately 24% of households are burdened by the cost of housing. Those who rent are more than twice as likely to be cost-burdened than those who own their home, and low-income renters are up to 5 times more likely to experience housing cost burden compared to low-income homeowners.
Median monthly housing costs in Johnson County are approximately $1,200, yet many of the essential workers in our community may struggle to afford housing costs even lower than the median. In a time when the economic consequences of COVID-19 have created record unemployment across essential industries, it is more important than ever that we ensure that all residents can live and work in Johnson County by prioritizing safe, stable and attainable housing.
Johnson County Housing Survey
We want to hear your voice as we plan for the future! The cities, county, and United Community Services of Johnson County (UCS) are seeking community input on the County's housing market in a housing survey. The survey is part of a county wide housing study currently underway and provides an opportunity for people who know the communities in Johnson County best to share their insights.
Please take a 15-minute survey to help us understand the housing needs in our community. Responses will be collected through the end of July 2020. Click on one of the links to take the survey online (Survey is available in English and Spanish):
UCS Human Service Summit - Register Today!
UCS' annual Summit will be held Wednesday, August 26, 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. at the Johnson County Arts & Heritage Center
Join UCS for the 2020 Human Service Summit - Build Our Housing Future. Be a part of the community conversation on housing, get an early look at housing data and survey insights from the Housing Study, and learn how you can participate in the Housing Task Force.
This year's Summit will focus on the 2020 Johnson County Municipalities Community Housing Study/Task Force that is currently underway. The cities, county and UCS recently launched a community wide housing market and needs assessment, the findings of which will be used for a 10-year outlook on housing that local officials can use to make policy decisions in the future.
This is a unique opportunity to come together with representatives from various community sectors who care deeply about Johnson County and to take part in a Housing Study listening session. Our community's economic vitality and sustainability is only as healthy as those who live and work here.
Due to COVID-19 safety measures, this year's Summit will have reduced in-person seating capacity and offer a virtual participation option. In-person attendance will include safe distancing measures, access to masks, and other appropriate safety measures. The $25 registration fee is the same for either option.
Click here to sign up for in-person attendance
Click here to sign up for virtual attendance
Census 2020: Let's make sure EVERYONE is counted!
The 2020 Census is underway. While Johnson County has one of the highest response rates in the state - nearly 75% response - there are many who have not been counted. Historically, communities that have been more likely to be undercounted in the census include young children, Black and Hispanic residents, renters, indigenous people, older adults, high-mobility young people, and rural residents. A Census tract of Johnson County indicates that response rates vary by geographic location, with lower response rates in areas that also have a higher concentration of low-income residents according to research by UCS.
Let's make sure everyone gets counted, especially those communities at risk for being undercounted. "Trusted voices" make a huge difference where the 2020 Census is concerned. Encouragement to respond to the 2020 Census has far greater impact when coming from a trusted friend, neighbor, family member, or service provider. Below is a sample script you can use in your outreach!
Sample phone script (short version):
"Hello! I'm calling to make sure you/your family is included in something extremely important that is happening right now, the 2020 Census. The goal of the Census is to count everyone living in our community. Our political representation and federal funding is distributed based on these counts which impact the future of our communities and our families through 2030. This is our chance to get it right for the coming 10 years. Will you help?"
"You can choose how you respond: online, by phone, or by mail. Visit my2020census.gov or call 1-844-330-2020 (Spanish: 1-844-468-2020) to ask questions or respond over the phone. I just finished mine and it was easy, simple and safe -- your response is completely confidential. Help us to make history and get this done today!
"I challenge you to call five more people with the same message. Be sure to let them know responding to the 2020 Census is safe, easy and important."
Sample text message: Have you completed your 2020 Census? Don't be left out! It's all about representation and getting federal funds for our community. It's safe, easy and important. Remind your friends and families, too.
For more information on the Census and Johnson County's Complete Count efforts, go to Count Me In JoCo.