City survey: Anti-crime efforts, housing, jobs among top community needs

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Santa Clarita residents have highlighted anti-crime programs, affordable housing and job creation among the most vital needs citywide, data recently released by the city revealed.

Of the more than 120 people who took a survey, nearly half said the city should prioritize its focus on each of these top areas.

The results stem from the annual community needs assessment survey conducted by the city in which the public has the opportunity to identify high- and low-priority issues in Santa Clarita. The ultimate goal is to help guide city leaders to best use federal funds.

The survey asked participants to rank a series of topics listed under seven categories, marking each in order of importance.

Federal Community Development Block Grant funding, which can be used to address certain topics raised by residents, come every year from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to aid lower-income communities in areas such as public services, housing and infrastructure.

In order to qualify for funding, the city must submit a series of requirements including its five-year strategic consolidated plan, annual action plan, and the needs assessment process.

On Tuesday, the City Council held a public hearing and heard results from a presentation by Erin Lay, Housing Program administrator for the city. She told council members that “these results will be used to help develop the 2019-2023 Consolidated Plan and the 2019-2020 Annual Action Plan.”

Santa Clarita has steadily received an estimated $1.1 million in CDBG funds every year. Once HUD dictates the total amount of dollars granted, the city can identify who is eligible to receive funding. Earlier in 2018, the city highlighted 77 local nonprofits as qualifiers, including about $54,000 for the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center and nearly $54,000 for Bridge to Home. Capital projects such as the Canyon Country Inclusion Playground and the Senior Center’s Handyworker Program benefitted from a total of $789,772.

According to Lay, factors such as the age of homes in a particular area and city demographics help determine the amount of allocations each city receives.

Tuesday’s public hearing was the first of two required for the 2019-2020 CDBG program year. No action was required by the City Council and no members of the community commented during the public hearing. The matter is set to return before council members in the spring, Lay said.

Here is a breakdown of each section with the top three topics listed in order of importance by surveyors:

Community facilities

  1. Outdoor park and recreation facilities
  2. Libraries
  3. Indoor community centers

Public services

  1. Anti-crime programs
  2. Graffiti removal
  3. Youth services

Public infrastructure

  1. A tie between street and alley improvements and small scale neighborhood beautification projects
  2. Sidewalk improvements
  3. Accessibility improvements

Special needs services

  1. Services for homeless
  2. Services for domestic violence
  3. Services for disabled

Housing

  1. Affordable rental housing
  2. Code enforcement
  3. Homebuyer financial assistance

Special needs housing

  1. Housing for seniors
  2. Housing for disabled
  3. Emergency shelter for homeless

Business and jobs

  1. Create jobs
  2. Programs to attract new businesses or retain businesses in Santa Clarita
  3. Business assistance programs for entrepreneurs

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