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Housing Assessment Tool


The Housing Assessment Tool (HAT) is a self-assessment guide for communities to gather and analyze data on their housing inventory, partner with relevant stakeholders, and develop priorities for local housing investment.  Communities can use this tool to make data-driven decisions in addressing housing investment opportunities.

The recommended timeline for completing the HAT is approximately one to three months but can be dependent on a community’s capacity. Once the HAT is complete, communities have the option to meet with the Housing Interagency Advisory Committee. This is an opportunity for the community to present their housing priorities to discuss state and federal funding opportunities with state representatives.

Step 1: HAT Guide

Download the HAT Guide to review and began recruiting stakeholders to the community’s housing committee to start Part 1. Track answers on a separate document.

Step 2: HAT Form

Download the HAT Guide to review and began recruiting stakeholders to the community’s housing committee to start Part 1. Track answers on a separate document.

The HAT Process

Part 1: Create a housing committee or partner with relevant stakeholders and organizations

Addressing your community’s housing needs and strategizing a plan that reflects the long-term community goals is an ongoing decision-making process. The role of the housing committee is to guide the community through the HAT process. The duties include organizing engagement and outreach, assisting with gathering data, communicating with stakeholders, and disseminating information from the HAT.

The committee is made up of 5-10 individuals as representatives from relevant stakeholders, organizations, and residents. A stakeholder is anyone who impacts or is impacted by local housing. For communities with minimal resources, communities can make a large effort to connect with these relevant stakeholders through the public and stakeholder engagement process.

Part 2: Collect and analyze local data

Part 2 has five components:

  • Past Housing Initiatives, Infrastructure, and City Services Inventory:

This component examines past housing initiatives to inform what has or has not worked in a city’s housing efforts. It can identify potential partnerships and areas a city may want to continue its housing investment. The status of infrastructure and city services determine whether a city can support more housing development.

  • Housing Needs Assessment

Communities will answer questions based on a housing report created by Local Housing Solutions that compiles and visually displays publicly available national data sources, such as U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey (ACS), and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Topics include demographics, rental and homeownership affordability, subsidized housing, supply and demand, housing stock characteristics, and older adult housing.

  • Stakeholder Interviews

The housing committee will briefly interview 1) up to five of the large employers in the area and 2) up to two local realtors to provide insight on the current and future housing needs in your community. Interview questions are provided in additional resources below.

  • Regional Housing Analysis

Communities assess how their regional housing challenges and opportunities impact their community by using the Kansas Statewide Housing Needs Assessment 2021.

  • Housing Physical Condition Assessment

Volunteers travel through the community to evaluate the exterior condition of existing housing and potential uses for vacant lots in a focus area or the entire community. A housing condition rating guide and survey template are provided in additional resources below.

Part 3: Community engagement

Public input and ongoing engagement are essential components of the planning process to ensure the identified housing needs, goals, and actions reflect the needs and desires of the residents. It is strongly recommended to complete a public outreach effort in the community in addition to the housing committee.

Communities identify an engagement method that best fits their timeline and resources. Methods can include a distributed community survey, one-on-one meetings, focus groups, or community workshop. Facilitators are available through K-State Research & Extension or the Kansas Department of Commerce Community Development Division. A survey question bank is provided in the additional resources below.

Part 4: Final assessment of the data/input and setting priorities

Once the housing committee thoroughly reviews the community’s data and public input, the committee pulls it all together to have a clear assessment of the local housing needs. This is the opportunity to set clear objectives and priorities to address housing in the community.

The committee will assess a comprehensive list of housing initiatives, types, attributes, and supporting services in their community to “score” as either a housing asset, neutral, or a housing need. Once complete, the committee describes the top three housing assets AND top three housing needs to present at the HIAC meeting.

HAT Resources

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to complete the HAT?

The suggested timeline for completing the HAT is approximately one to three months. The process depends on a community’s capacity and the ability to complete the housing study. The housing committee will decide its capability and timeline for completing the HAT. A tentative timeline is on page 2 of the HAT Guide.

Why is the HAT recommended?

The purpose of the HAT process is for communities to assess their housing inventory and needs without hiring a consultant to perform a housing study. When applying for funding from Kansas state agencies, it is recommended communities strategically prioritize the greatest housing needs. This ensures the housing investment is most effective to be eligible for grant funding.

Housing is an economic development issue and addressing local employer needs and learning what the housing market demands are can improve the economic opportunity in your community. If a community strategically implements its housing priorities, it can simultaneously address economic development and housing growth. The following are some of the ways housing is connected to local economic development:

  • The opportunity to attract a new business with developing workforce housing
  • An existing business(s) in the immediate market area may intend to expand its operations and hire new employees with available housing.
  • The correlation between the proposed wages of a new or expanding business and the cost (rent/mortgage) of housing development.
  • The job retention of a local business is dependent upon adequate housing development.
  • Aging housing stock, misalignment between available housing and market needs, and affordability all can negatively impact local economic vitality

Will communities receive a copy of their completed HAT for their records?

Yes. After a community submits its HAT on the HAT Form, Commerce will email a PDF copy of the HAT with a one-page summary page within one week of submission.

How do I use the HAT in the future?

The HAT is a community’s first step in the housing development process to assess its local housing stock and strategize priorities for housing investment. The housing committee can continue to meet to collaborate and seek funding for future housing initiatives and projects.

To start developing housing, the community will identify potential developers and other financial stakeholders to implement the projects. Ideally, the HAT process has helped a community identify the potential partnerships and locations for development. Once this has been established, the community applies for state and federal funding. 

The steps to success are as follows:

Is there a paper format for communities that have little access to technology?

Communities can use the HAT Guide as a physical copy of the HAT process. The answers must be entered on the online HAT Form for submission. If communities have limited technological access or capacity, we recommend contacting outside organizations to assist. Contact Liz Heron at [email protected] for more information or assistance.

Will communities receive a copy of their completed HAT for their records?

Yes. After a community submits its HAT on the HAT Form, Commerce will return the HAT with a one-page summary page for their records.

How do I assist a community through the HAT?

A webinar was held discussing the best practices in assisting communities through the HAT process. Contact Liz Heron at [email protected] for a recording.

Are the Additional Resources required to complete the HAT?

No. The Additional Resources are optional but recommended to assist in the HAT process.

What do HIAC meetings entail?

All HIAC meetings are virtual through Microsoft Teams. The HIAC have scheduled dates every other month. The 2023 dates are: May 17, July 19, September 20, and November 15. Contact Linda Hunsicker ([email protected]) to schedule the meeting. The meeting will be scheduled if the HAT is submitted two weeks prior to the HIAC date. 

When and where are the HIAC meetings?

All HIAC meetings are virtual through Microsoft Teams. The HIAC have scheduled dates every other month. Contact Linda Hunsicker ([email protected]) to schedule the meeting. The meeting will be scheduled if the HAT is submitted two weeks prior to the HIAC date. 

What state and federal housing funding opportunities could be discussed at the HIAC meeting?

State and federal housing resources available in Kansas can be found at the Housing Resources in Kansas page. A brief description of each program is provided in the additional resources.

Housing Interagency Advisory Committee (HIAC) Meeting

The purpose of the Housing Interagency Advisory Committee (HIAC) is to provide guidance and direction to communities seeking funding for housing projects. The HIAC consists of federal and state agency representatives from the Kansas Department of Commerce, Kansas Housing Resource Corporation, USDA Rural Development, and Federal Home Loan Bank.

Communities can attend an optional virtual HIAC meeting to present their HAT key findings and housing priorities. The goal of a HIAC meeting is for communities to receive HAT feedback and for the state agencies to describe how their programs can address the community’s housing needs. Communities can connect with program managers and determine the next steps to address housing goals. There is no requirement for communities to meet with the HIAC for funding.

The 2023 HIAC dates are August 16, September 20, October 18, November 15, and December 20. Contact Liz Heron for questions or scheduling at [email protected].

Additional Resources

HAT Task R-Chart Template
Additional Data Sources
Housing Stakeholder List
Housing Needs Assessment Worksheet
Businesses / Employers Stakeholder Interview Questions
Local Realtor Stakeholder Interview Questions
Housing Physical Condition Rating Guide and Survey Template
Housing Physical Condition Analysis Template
Community Engagement Survey Question Bank

Elizabeth Heron, Placemaking Community Development Specialist


[email protected]

Housing Resources in Kansas

Affordable, quality and accessible housing is a critical component to growing the Kansas economy and improving the quality of life in our state.