Public hearing will discuss low-income residents’ needs

Houses in the Santa Clarita Valley near Copper Hill Drive. Katharine Lotze/Signal
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In an effort to determine the needs of the low income community in Santa Clarita, the city administered a Community Needs Assessment survey, the results of which will be open for a public hearing at the next city council meeting.

As required by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the assessment is given every year to ask people living with low incomes what their greatest needs are. A person qualifies in this category if their income is 80 percent or below the median for their area.

The public hearing on March 14 will allow community members to comment on the results of the survey.

“This step is really specific to this year and helps guide how we allocate funds for the coming year,” Santa Clarita’s Housing Program Administrator Erin Lay said.

The survey ran online from Nov. 2 to Dec. 15 and 385 people participated. Hard copies of the survey could also be completed if requested.

The survey is broken into four categories, which includes supportive human services, community facilities and infrastructure, affordable housing and economic opportunities. Those who take the survey rank activities under each category by whether their need for it is high, medium, low or none.

Santa Clarita receives approximately $1.1 million a year in community development block grant funds to address the needs recognized in the assessment.

“The city wants you to have a voice in how the money is invested,” the survey read.

For the 2017-18 assessment, the most common concerns in regard to human services were youth activities, anti-crime programs and mental health services.

In regard to facilities, most of the people surveyed said they would like more homeless shelters, youth centers, and park and recreational facilities.

For housing, people said affordable rental housing, senior rental housing and housing that is more energy efficient were most important factors.

As for economic opportunities, people said they would like more start-up business assistance, job creation and retention and employment training.

Many of the same concerns are mentioned each year, according to Lay.

“We do see some things that are more extreme in needs, but nothing really surprised us,” she said.

Every five years, the city determines a plan that will set priorities for each of the following years. This period lasts from 2014 to 2019.

As this public hearing is strictly informational, another will be held in May to determine an action plan.

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