City of Kent and Kent State University

Challenge
The City of Kent in partnership with Kent State University engaged Allegro to undertake a city-wide community housing study. The symbiotic relationship of the city and university means that changes in university enrollment directly affects the city’s housing stock. The two entities sought to gain a better understanding of the available housing, the demographics and economics of the community, housing supply and demand, the rental and owner-occupied housing markets, and other associated issues and trends. Allegro’s goal was two-fold:

  • Identify gaps in the community’s existing housing stock and recommend measures to fill those gaps, and
  • Determine if the community was developing adequate housing of all types to meet the needs of current and future residents.

Solution
Allegro began a comprehensive evaluation of the various factors impacting housing within the municipality. They surveyed new and recent developments, on-campus housing, affordable and subsidized housing, public housing, single-family and multi-family housing, age-restricted housing, foreclosures, mortgage-lending activity, housing absorption, and sale prices. Next, they solicited input from the community in order to determine residents’ opinions and priorities. Allegro then analyzed the university enrollment while considering factors such as higher education trends, feeder high schools, and population projections.

In pursuit of the full picture, Allegro gathered additional housing data to help inform their analysis. They focused on housing code violations, unlicensed multi-family and rooming houses, the housing preferences of the university faculty and staff, housing stock typology, and the cost burden vs. affordability. Allegro selected a subcontractor to conduct a review of the city’s zoning and building code. Finally, Allegro assessed the existing housing programs in the municipality and performed a geospatial analysis using all of the information gathered.

Allegro’s final report contained several recommendations for new housing initiatives, including incentive programs and streamlined processes for licensure of rental programs, an improved website, and an awareness campaign highlighting the efforts already underway by the municipality. Allegro also provided a gap analysis of the types of housing the municipality lacked that had a high likelihood of demand. The analysis proved that in this municipality, the main areas of potential improvement consisted of affordable, family-friendly rental properties, age-restricted housing, for-sale single-family housing, and for-sale multi-family housing.