In November 2018, the National League of Cities (NLC) and TIP Strategies launched a competition for a pilot program to bring together local leaders and stakeholders to identify a collaborative path to address economic development issues of the winning community’s choice. The Mid-America Regional Council (MARC), a metropolitan planning organization serving the Kansas City metro area, won the project and selected housing affordability as their topic of interest with the goal of better understanding challenges and opportunities for preserving and providing workforce housing.
TIP conducted a detailed analysis comparing more than 20 cities in the Kansas City region to each other and to the broader metropolitan area to identify communities facing similar affordability challenges. Communities were grouped into five cohorts based on an analysis of economic indicators, a review of existing housing reports and studies, and an index of housing affordability created by TIP using adjusted single-family unit appraisal data for more than 300,000 units. These cohorts, which grouped together communities facing similar affordability challenges or enjoying similar economic strengths, formed the framework for identifying potential solutions to address specific challenges and enhance regional cooperation. Findings from the analysis, along with targeted strategies, actions, and case study examples, were presented to the participating communities and regional stakeholders at a regional housing summit in July 2019. The original research and insights gained from the July event were presented at NLC’s annual City Summit event, which was held in San Antonio in November 2019.