City discusses survey on community resources  

Santa Clarita City Hall

Santa Clarita residents’ most commonly identified issues in their comments for a recent city survey over what to do with funds to help low-income communities included more affordable housing and more homeless housing/services, according to city officials. 

Santa Clarita City Council members Tuesday heard results from an annual questionnaire seeking public feedback on what the city should do with the roughly $1.4 million in federal funding each year directed to help those in need and the underserved.  

“Funding received through (the Community Development Block Grant) must be used to provide programs, projects and services to primarily low- and moderate-income residents,” according to Tracy Sullivan, community preservation manager for the city of Santa Clarita. 

In order to receive the money, the city needs to create a five-year action plan explaining how it will be spent. In the past this has included support for a range of nonprofit organizations, from Carousel Ranch, which works with special needs children through equine therapy and other supportive programming, to Bridge to Home, which provides shelter and services to the area’s homeless residents. 

Mayor Cameron Smyth said the kind of feedback residents give in these surveys provides helpful information for council members to consider and keep in mind for when projects come up for review. 

“I think the council and staff have, in our mind, projects or needs within the community,” he said in a phone interview Friday, “but it’s important to have that feedback and to take it into account when you review final results and proposals. I think it’s always important to do whatever we can to obtain as much community input as possible.”  

Smyth also said the results validated the fact that the community sees the needs similarly to what the council does. 

The survey, which had 254 respondents, was available from mid-November to January, with residents asked to rate five categories in order of importance.  

Residents were asked 11 questions in the survey that ranged from identifying their employment status to asking which funding category is most important to them. 

The written comments ranged from “Thank you for everything you do!!!” to “PAVE THE ROADS.”  

Some called for affordable housing to all sectors “except those who earn over 200K annually” while another stated, “Please do not waste time or resources on low-income housing and homeless.” 

Other comments included calls for more health and human services, more economic development and more arts and public recreation funding. 

In terms of which funding category is most important, 251 answered, with the top three categories as affordable housing (97); neighborhood facilities (58); social and human services (36); homeless services (32); and economic development (28). 

When asked residents’ preference for the top three areas where more funding is needed to support affordable housing, the top answers were: “rental units for seniors” (130); “other affordable housing for lower-income residents” (125); “rental units for families” (120); “down payment assistance for lower-income buyers” (100); “supportive housing and services for the disabled” (97); and “owner-occupied home repairs” (74). 

When asked for three priorities related to “neighborhood facilities and infrastructure,” the city received a solid spread of responses: a little over half stated child care centers in lower-income areas (129), while there were 107 respondents who chose street improvements in those areas, and 107 who also called for more facilities and infrastructure improvements. Funding for American with Disabilities Act compliance came in at seventh with 68 respondents. 

The self-reported user data in the survey indicated not everyone who responded is a city resident, with one person claiming a Burbank ZIP code, 11 claiming to being in the 91381, which is largely outside city limits in Stevenson Ranch, and seven respondents in the 91384, which is in Castaic, to name a few. Not all respondents identified their ZIP code.  

Of the 240 residents who identified their age range, 86 stated they were 18-39; 154 stated they were over 40 and of that group, 40 were over 65 years old. 

Most of those who responded identified as a homeowner (161), while 66 rented, 12 stated “other” and 15 skipped the question.  

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