CSU studies Oberlin’s housing picture


By Evan Goodenow - egoodenow@civitasmedia.com



<p style="text-align: right;">Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Residents make suggestions for housing improvements in Oberlin. The ideas are for a housing study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Planning and Community Development, which was commissioned by the city.

Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Residents make suggestions for housing improvements in Oberlin. The ideas are for a housing study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Planning and Community Development, which was commissioned by the city.


HOUSING FACTS

A housing study designed to attract and retain residents is underway. Among the facts gathered so far:

• There are 2,524 households in the city.

• The median value of owner-occupied homes is $133,600 compared to $138,000 for all of Lorain County.

• The average rent in Oberlin is $723 per month.

• About 35 percent of Oberlin’s approximately 8,300 residents are Oberlin College students. About 300 live off campus in private housing.

• About 25 percent of Oberlin residents have a graduate degree compared to 8.3 percent in the rest of Lorain County and 9.5 percent in the rest of Ohio.

• About 11 percent of households receive food stamps compared to a 14 percent rate for the rest of the county.

• Nearly 10 percent of households have no access to a car compared to nearly seven percent for the rest of the county.

• About 64 percent of residents travel less than 15 minutes to work and 42 percent of those who work in Oberlin and live elsewhere live about 10 miles from their job.

Sources: Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, U.S. Census Bureau, Lorain County auditor

Authors of an upcoming housing study will seek to build on residents’ suggestions made at an open house Thursday at the Oberlin Public Library.

Increasing elderly housing and affordable housing for young families, as well as increasing the quality and quantity of apartments and rental homes, were among the written suggestions made. Other recommendations included razing abandoned homes and a more flexible housing code.

Thirty-four people attended the four-hour event.

Among them was realtor Pradnya Martz, who called Oberlin an “awesome” place to live in and raise a family but said some areas have deteriorated since she moved to the city in 1994.

Martz said she hopes the study — being done by Cleveland State University’s Center for Planning and Community Development — will give city officials a better idea of how and where to make improvements.

She said residents need to be “ambassadors” for Oberlin and some should consider buying and refurbishing homes. Martz said owning a home isn’t for everyone but there are affordable homes that renters considering buying a home for the first time are unaware of. “A lot of people are intimidated,” said Martz, a realtor since March.

As part of the study, center officials plan to talk with employers as well as people who work in Oberlin about why they live in the city or choose to live elsewhere.

Kirby Date, center community planning and development program manager, said she plans to interview about 25 people.

The completed study will include a review of the building code, examine how to increase use of renewable energy, improve building maintenance, and encourage alternative and inter-generational housing.

It will also review foreclosures and building trends. Comparisons will be made with comparably-sized college towns.

The report is due out in late December or early January. Date said it will be concise and easy to read.

“I’m a fan of sweet and simple,” she said. “You want something that’s very easy for people to access.”

Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.

Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Residents make suggestions for housing improvements in Oberlin. The ideas are for a housing study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Planning and Community Development, which was commissioned by the city.

http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/44/2016/09/web1_HousingOpenHouse91516b.jpg

Evan Goodenow | Oberlin News-Tribune Residents make suggestions for housing improvements in Oberlin. The ideas are for a housing study by Cleveland State University’s Center for Planning and Community Development, which was commissioned by the city.

By Evan Goodenow

egoodenow@civitasmedia.com

HOUSING FACTS

A housing study designed to attract and retain residents is underway. Among the facts gathered so far:

• There are 2,524 households in the city.

• The median value of owner-occupied homes is $133,600 compared to $138,000 for all of Lorain County.

• The average rent in Oberlin is $723 per month.

• About 35 percent of Oberlin’s approximately 8,300 residents are Oberlin College students. About 300 live off campus in private housing.

• About 25 percent of Oberlin residents have a graduate degree compared to 8.3 percent in the rest of Lorain County and 9.5 percent in the rest of Ohio.

• About 11 percent of households receive food stamps compared to a 14 percent rate for the rest of the county.

• Nearly 10 percent of households have no access to a car compared to nearly seven percent for the rest of the county.

• About 64 percent of residents travel less than 15 minutes to work and 42 percent of those who work in Oberlin and live elsewhere live about 10 miles from their job.

Sources: Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs, U.S. Census Bureau, Lorain County auditor