A national research firm has been selected to study the future housing needs in Rock Island on behalf of the city and the Rock Island Housing Authority. 

Bowen National Research, based in Pickerington, Ohio, was chosen from seven firms vying to conduct a comprehensive housing market study. The $45,000 contract will be funded by the housing authority.

The firm was selected by an oversight team made up of representatives of the city, housing authority, Rock Island Economic Growth Corp, Project NOW and Valley Construction. The selection was approved by the housing authority’s board of commissioners.

“As an agency, our mission is to pursue new and creative ways to meet the changing housing needs of the diverse population of Rock Island,” said Susan Anderson, executive director of the housing authority. “We believe this study will help us, the city, each of the oversight team members and the entire community work together to achieve that goal.”

The housing authority said the study will begin in early 2013 and is expected to be completed by spring.

It will provide data on current housing types and trends in Rock Island. It also will identify the effect that housing demands and availability in the other Quad-City communities have on the Rock Island market. Bowen National Research also will collect data related to the conditions, challenges and opportunities in the city’s housing market.

The research firm, which conducts more than 400 market studies annually across the country, will be asked to provide housing policy recommendations and strategies to meet the community’s housing needs in the next two to five years, 10 years and 15 years.

“We view the housing market analysis as an important element that will guide the city’s future,” said Jeff Eder, the city’s community and economic development director.

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During the company’s presentation to the selection committee, company president Patrick Bowen said it will be important for Rock Island “to understand the changing demographics in the area and what type of impact this will have on future housing needs.”

Bowen said the process will gather “input from community leaders and organizations as well as a large-scale resident survey to gather insight from the residents of Rock Island on what they believe is needed in terms of housing.”

According to the housing authority, the process will include both stakeholder and resident interviews. Resident surveys will be conducted door-to-door, at shopping areas and other public places. In all, Bowen National Research will conduct about 500 interviews.

The company has prepared 181 studies in Iowa, including a 2012 statewide survey of low-income properties, as well as more than 200 housing market studies in Illinois. This experience has given it a database of more than 30 rental housing properties in Rock Island as well as an additional 125 properties across the rest of the Quad-City metro area.

Members of the oversight team included: Alan Carmen, the city’s retired planning and redevelopment administrator; Brian Hollenback, president of Rock Island Economic Growth Corp.; Maureen “Mo” Hart, Project NOW’s executive director; Jim Hass, chief operating officer of Valley Construction; and Lori Pappas and David Emerick, two of the housing authority’s commissioners.