Mental health, housing for seniors among top local needs, city survey shows

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File photo

Residents believe mental health and homeless services, housing for seniors and affordable housing are among the most needed in Santa Clarita, according to the results of a recent city survey. 

The survey, which received responses from more than 476 people, asked residents what they felt the biggest needs were in the community. Answers were consolidated under three categories: supportive human services, community facilities, and infrastructure and affordable housing. 

Under supportive human services, the top answers were mental health, homeless and anti-crime services. Youth centers, health care facilities and homeless shelters were the most popular responses under facilities and infrastructures. And under affordable housing, respondents said Santa Clarita needs the development of rental housing for seniors, energy efficiency improvements and affordable rental housing.  

The results of the 2020-21 survey, which was available from Oct. 9 to Nov. 4, “are consistent with results from previous years. While a wide variety of issues were noted in the written comments, the most commonly identified issues were homelessness and/or affordable housing,” read a city staff report. 

The survey is conducted every year in order to identify the current needs of the lower-income community. Data collected helps cities create annual action plans that outline how it would spend funds from the Community Development Block Grant that the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development offers on an annual basis. 

Grants received must go toward funding local community programs aimed at offering affordable housing and infrastructure development. Every year, the city has received about $1.2 million in CDBG dollars. 

Last year, just more than 120 people partook in the survey and said the most vital needs citywide included anti-crime programs, affordable housing and job creation. Among the beneficiaries of the grant funding in 2019 were Bridge to Home for its community access services and homeless outreach, Carousel Ranch for its Ready to Work and Project Special Children of the Valley program, and Family Promise’s clinical case management services. 

On Tuesday, the Santa Clarita City Council is expected to hold a public hearing and receive details about the survey results for the 2020-21 program year. 

Council members will not conduct a formal action until May 12, where they will consider the recommended CDBG funding allocations, according to the city staff report.

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