A link to an online survey about housing options in Birmingham’s neighborhoods is beginning to be more widely circulated. It is being conducted by GCR, Incorporated, a consulting firm based in New Orleans, LA, as part of a study being used to develop a housing plan for the city. The one year contract (not to exceed $95,139) was first approved by the City Council in June (summary item 2), with the legislative body recently receiving an update during a regularly scheduled meeting.
As reported by Fox 6/WBRC’s Alan Collins, councilors did raise concerns at that time about wanting to make sure all residents interested in participating were able to do so. They were particularly concerned about those citizens without online access. The survey is web-based, takes approximately 10 minutes to complete, and is built to be accessible by smartphone as well (the portion of a screenshot from a mobile device accompanies this post).
UPDATE: 4:05 p.m. – We’ve learned physical copies of the survey are available via the city’s community development office (as it is that office working with the consultant) and not the economic development office as mentioned in the report.
The final report, focused on establishing a policy leveraging tools already available to the city, is scheduled to be delivered to the city in December. It, like the recently established Land Bank Authority, was outlined as a necessary next step by the city’s comprehensive plan process, possibly proving helpful as efforts to establish framework plans continue to move forward.
It will also be interesting to watch as the plan is unveiled how it tackles vacant property, affordability, and homelessness, particularly as other cities currently contemplating implementation of housing plans (such as New York and Seattle) move forward as well.