Housing survey contains few surprises

Kevin Wilson

A lot of data compilation, and very little surprise.

That’s what the city discovered when it put together results of its affordable housing survey, commissioned in June with responses gathered over a month.

“We sent out 3,000 surveys, mailed out randomly throughout the community,” said Claire Burroughes of the city. “It was also online on our website.”

Of those 3,000 surveys, 593 were mailed back to the city. There were 134 other surveys that were submitted via cityofclovis.org.

A majority, 62.5 percent, believes there is a lack of affordable housing in Clovis, and another 29.7 percent said they weren’t sure.

Almost all of those surveyed, 93 percent, live in a single home on a lot, and their homes are at least 20 years old (37.7 percent said their homes were 20-40 years old, and 33 percent said more than 40 years)

Among the survey results:

• Homeowners make up 88 percent of returned surveys. Burroughes said she expected a higher number of renters.

• The average dwelling isn’t crowded. Of the surveys returned, 65 percent have one or two residents, and 34 percent have three to five. The rest have six or more residents.

• Of those who rent, about 60 percent have rented for five years or less — 20.9 percent have rented for a year or less, 38.2 percent have rented for two to five years.

• 96 percent of respondents lived in the Clovis city limits, but only 63 percent work in the city limits — a discrepancy likely due to work at Cannon Air Force Base.

• The largest income groups were more than $60,000 annually (31.4 percent) and $20,001-$40,000 (25 percent). Burroughes said the online component brought up numbers in the lower-income ranges.

• Rent/mortage payments varied. The biggest portion (24.3 percent) pays more than $900 monthly, but $501-700 and less than $300 each got 17.2 percent. Of those who answered, 98 percent receive no financial assistance for their dwelling.

Other than expecting to see more renters in the surveys, Burroughes said city staff wasn’t surprised with the results.

The survey was a required public component of the city’s affordable housing plan. Another component will be a public meeting, which Burroughes hopes will be held by the end of September.

“It satisfies a public component,” Safety Inspector Pete Wilt said, “but it also lets us know where we need to work harder.”

Respondents said the greatest obstacle to building was construction cost and the greatest obstacle to building a house was high prices.

The top solution, respondents said, was renovating and demolishing abandoned homes.

“Individuals could pursue (renovation),” Wilt said. “It would be great, because it would free up the city to concentrate on other things. We’ve got two houses that have already gone to the commission for demolition and right now, I’m working on four more houses.”