Northwestern students to host public forum on area housing

Nine Northwestern College social work seniors will host a community forum on housing in Orange City and Sioux County on Tuesday, Dec. 15, from 7 to 8 p.m. in the basement of Orange City’s Iowa State Bank.

Throughout the semester, the social work students have been completing research for Community Health Partners regarding the affordability, availability and quality of both rental and owner-occupied housing in Sioux County. They have gathered quantitative research on area housing and additional qualitative research on housing in Orange City through personal interviews with randomly selected residents.

“This research offers the potential to locate identified needs and housing gaps in our community,” says Dr. Valerie Stokes, associate professor of social work and department chair at Northwestern. “The students completed a quality study that has the potential to make a meaningful impact locally.”

The forum will serve as a platform for the students to present both their findings and practical suggestions for ways to address some of the issues regarding owning or renting a house in the area.

“I really want to encourage community leaders, pastors, city officials, realtors, landlords, renters, homeowners and anyone interested in the subject to attend the forum,” says Stokes. “This is a way for local change to happen at a grassroots level. Please join us.”