The consolidated planning process is a federal requirement for states and jurisdictions that receive entitlement resources through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  It is intended to be used as a tool to assess affordable housing and community development needs through public input and market analysis.  The Consolidated Plan is updated every five years and submitted to HUD.  All projects and initiatives funded over the planning period must tie back to the policies and priorities outlined in this plan. For more information about the consolidated planning process, please visit HUD Exchange.

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Every five years, the City of Peoria is required by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to create a Consolidated Plan. In the plan, the City outlines how it will spend roughly $2.5 million received annually from HUD as a formula grant. As a part of this effort, the City is required to conduct community outreach as a part of the prioritization process.

This year, City staff undertook a large citizen participation endeavor that included online and paper surveys about priorities for the HUD funding. The survey was sent to community partners, including local nonprofits, neighborhood groups, and the Chamber of Commerce, among others, for distribution to their networks. Staff also held three community meetings dedicated to the Consolidated Plan and HUD funding in conjunction with community partners and attended over 35 additional meetings or events to engage City of Peoria residents. Through this outreach, the City staff received 773 surveys.

In general, the feedback on program priorities aligned with much of the programming the City currently undertakes with the HUD funding. The top priority rated by respondents under housing needs was to help homeowners make repairs, which is the focus of the City’s single-family rehabilitation programs. The community also identified a strong need for economic development programs for job creation, which has been made a priority by City Council in recent years and incorporated into funding opportunities.

The survey also asked about the availability of safe, affordable housing and the prevalence of housing discrimination. Nearly 24% of respondents indicated they were not able to find safe, affordable housing, with the top reasons cited as high cost, unsafe/unsanitary conditions, and crime. Survey respondents also identified the South Side, East Bluff, and North Valley as the top three areas that should receive targeted HUD funding.

A detailed summary of the survey results follows. City staff will utilize these results and other stakeholder input to design projects that will be included in the 2020 Consolidated Plan. The plan will come before City Council for approval.

METHODOLOGY

The survey was distributed both in person and online to reach a variety of respondents. While the City wanted to engage residents in all Council Districts and neighborhoods, a special emphasis was placed in reaching the low-income residents whom this funding is intended to assist. Community partners such as PCCEO played a vital role in distributing and collecting surveys from one of the targeted areas. This survey is not scientific in nature.

The first section of the survey included questions on demographics. Next, there were three questions categorized into housing needs, community needs, and homeless needs. Under each question, citizens ranked a variety of options, as “low,” “moderate,” or “high” priorities. Survey respondents ranked each option based on their personal thoughts on the needs for the City of Peoria. A low designation corresponded to one point, a moderate designation to two points, and a high designation to three points. Using a weighted average method, the sum of all points was then calculated and divided by the total number of respondents, resulting in a score between one and three points. The higher the average score, the greater the need. For each of the three questions, respondents could provide a brief narrative or comment on other needs they thought should be considered under each category.

Additional yes or no questions and open-ended questions were included about the ability to find safe, affordable housing; the prevalence of housing discrimination; and if HUD funds should be targeted in specific areas. A final open-ended question soliciting any other comments was included to capture priorities not included elsewhere in the survey.

DEMOGRAPHICS

Of the 773 survey respondents, 14.9% resided in the 61603 zip code, 12.2% in the 61604 zip code, 23.8% in the 61605 zip code, 19.5% in the 61614 zip code, and 11.8% in the 61615 zip code. The remaining 18% of the respondents were split primarily among 61525, 61602, and 61606 zip codes, with small percentages residing elsewhere in other zip codes. Since housing is a regional issue, respondents living outside of the City of Peoria were able to complete the survey.

When asked about income, 16% of the respondents answered that their household’s income was less than $15,000; with an additional 16.3% answering that their household’s income was between $15,000 – $30,000 while 14.9% earned between $30,000 – $45,000. Over 20% earned between $45,000 – $75,000, and 32.3% earned over $75,000.

The majority of survey takers cited their race as white (60.6%), while 32.5% responded that they were Black, with 4.6% responding that they were two or more races. A small group of survey takers responded that their race was Asian (0.9%), Black and white (8%), and Asian and white (0.4%).

HOMELESS NEEDS

For the homeless needs question, homeless prevention services ranked highest at 2.64 out of 3 points, followed by outreach/services to homeless persons (2.57) and rental assistance to previously homeless individuals (2.56). The other homeless needs were ranked at 2.47 or below. Narrative comments on homeless needs included housing for convicted felons, deconcentrating poverty, and rehabilitation of older homes as housing opportunities for homeless/low-income individuals.

HOUSING NEEDS

For the housing needs question, assistance for homeowners to make housing repairs and energy efficiency improvements for extant housing ranked highest, with weighted averages of 2.52 out of 3 points for each. Housing for individuals with disabilities and family housing followed close behind, at weighted averages of 2.40 and 2.39 respectively. The other housing needs were ranked at 2.34 or below. Narrative comments on housing needs included rehabilitation of older neighborhoods/homes and neighborhood improvement opportunities, services to lower-income individuals, and the need for landlords to make repairs to rental units.

COMMUNITY NEEDS

For the community needs question, economic development/job creation rose to the top at a weighted average of 2.65 out of 3 points, followed by sidewalk construction/repairs at 2.42 and Code Enforcement at 2.38. The other community needs were ranked at 2.31 or below. Narrative comments on community needs included safer streets through street lights and sidewalk repairs, code enforcement, and community-based job training and financial literacy programs.

PUBLIC SERVICE PRIORITIES

The survey also included a question asking respondents to rank the most important public service needs in Peoria, choosing ten needs out of a list of eighteen. Mental health services and crime awareness/prevention were selected by over two-thirds of survey takers, making them the highest priority areas as identified through the survey. Employment training, youth services, and health services rounded out the top five, with each receiving selection by over 50% of all survey takers.

SAFE, AFFORDABLE HOUSING AND HOUSING DISCRIMINATION

After ranking and prioritizing needs, respondents could provide further information regarding their personal housing needs and housing discrimination. Fully 76% of the 663 survey takers who answered the question responded that they were able to find safe, decent, and affordable housing in the community, while 23.8% said they are not.

Out of those unable to find safe, decent, and affordable housing—as well as individuals who wanted to provide further commentary—nearly 23% cited high cost as a barrier, while over 11% cited unsafe/unsanitary conditions, and 13.9% cited crime.

When asked about housing discrimination in their community, or if they themselves had faced discrimination in their pursuit of finding housing, 12.4% of the 428 respondents cited racial discrimination, while an additional 5.6% cited segregation. 12.1% of respondents mentioned income discrimination, while 2.3% mentioned discrimination against individuals with criminal records.

TARGETED USE OF FUNDS

Citizens were then asked to describe areas of the city which they believe should be targeted for revitalization. Of the 450 respondents to this question, 60.7% wrote that funds should be targeted toward the Southside, with 27.8% writing the funds should be targeted toward the East Bluff and 6.2% pointing to the Near Northside.

ADDITIONAL FEEDBACK

At the end of the survey, respondents were able to add general comments as well as ideas on community and neighborhood improvement. More than 330 individuals provided responses to the question, with a variety of answers. Just under 14% of respondents cited crime as an important factor, while another 10% of respondents cited Code Enforcement. Other higher-frequency responses included sidewalks (6.6%) and litter (6.0%).

CONCLUSION

This year, City staff expanded the community outreach for the HUD consolidated plan and received great feedback from the community. In general, many of the priorities identified by the community are programming that the City’s HUD programming provides or are provided by community partners.

The next step for City staff is to create a five-year plan that incorporates these priorities based on the funding available. City staff will consult with stakeholders and other funding providers to ensure the City funds are best utilized and not providing unnecessary duplication of services.

The final 2020 Consolidated Plan will come before City Council for approval once the U.S. Congress has passed a full year 2020 budget.