Community Impact Measurement 2016

Community Impact Measurement 2016

The 2016 Community Impact Measurement results illustrate the impact of community revitalization efforts on the residents of Northwest Rutland. A comparison of a random sample of over 200 residents from 2013 and 2016 found that residents responded more positively on almost every indicator of neighborhood quality of life in 2016.

From April 15 through May 2, NeighborWorks of Western Vermont conducted a Community Impact Measurement of Northwest Rutland. Forty-four volunteers from CCV, Green Mountain College, Green Mountain Power, College of Saint Joseph, Project VISION members, and NeighborWorks board and staff knocked on more than 500 doors over 272 hours and collected 203 surveys from different households in Northwest Rutland.

This is the second time NWWVT has administered this survey in the roughly 15-block area north of State Street, west of Grove Street, and south of Crescent Street. In 2013, the initial survey was completed by 20 volunteers who collected surveys from 229 households. Coinciding with the beginning of Project VISION, the survey provided insight to the lives of community members in the neighborhood so that further actions to impact change would be well informed.

The questions try to delve into all aspects of neighborhood life and find out what the residents like about the neighborhood and what they’d like to see improved. They cover community involvement, neighborliness, general feelings of safety and security, availability and quality of public services, neighborhood evolution, and the desire or ability to buy a house in the neighborhood.

Questions included:

  • Right now, how likely are you to recommend this community to someone else as a good place to live?
  • How much of a positive difference do you feel that you, yourself, can make in your community?
  • Compared to three years ago, how would you say your community has changed overall?

In April 2016, the survey was repeated in the same target area to see how attitudes have changed over the intervening three years in which public funding and engagement has worked to raze and rehab blighted and vacant properties, pave streets and sidewalks, improve street lighting, host two block parties, design and build the city’s newest park in almost 30 years, as well as many other community revitalization efforts.

Neighborhood satisfaction

In 2016, 24% more (82%) were very or somewhat satisfied with “living in this community” than in 2013. There was no detectable difference between homeowners and renters responses for this question in 2016; in 2013, a significant difference was detected between homeowners and renters, with homeowners being much more likely to respond as less satisfied than renters. Families with children saw remarked improvement in responses between 2013 and 2016: 20% more were satisfied or very satisfied with their neighborhood in 2016.

In 2016 17% more (66%) would definitely recommend their neighborhood as a good place to live. These increases in positive responses show that Northwest Rutland is becoming a neighborhood of choice and pride.

Community Involvement

This section of responses illustrated the impact of the increase in community events including block parties, but also suggested a continued need for community leadership training and support. People who volunteer to help others in the community is up (64% from 54%), and 55% responded that they had participated in an event like a block party in the past year, up 8% from 2013. In 2016, 13% more responded that a neighbor was very likely to help if they needed a ride somewhere.

A number of responses remained about the same as in 2013. People willing or very willing to get involved was about the same, and these numbers were high (56%). In 2016 respondents who answered willing or very willing were asked for their contact information to let them know about volunteer opportunities and 40% of total respondents gave theirs.

Neighborliness was even more evident in the 2016 responses, with the “very likely” responses increasing by at least 3% but up to 13% in every category of neighborliness, including giving neighbors rides or watching their homes while they were away.

Public Services

The responses in this section, which covered police, ambulance, and fire responses, were all more positively rated in 2016.

  • 12% more rated the police response as “very good.”
  • 21% more rated the fire department response as “very good.”
  • 21% more rated the ambulance response as “very good.

Personal Safety

For questions about personal safety, responses indicated that residents felt much safer in the neighborhood.

In 2016:

  • 65% more felt very safe in their homes during the day.
  • 40% more felt very safe in their homes at night
  • 24% more felt very safe walking in the community during the day time
  • 37% more felt very safe in outdoor recreational areas.
  • 12% more felt very safe walking in the community at night

“Other’s” Safety

This section included questions about how the respondent felt about children’s, youth’s, elder’s, and other resident’s safety in the neighborhood. All the responses reflected the residents feeling that others were safer.

In 2016:

  • 23% more though children and youth who were playing outside are “very safe”
  • 22% more thought children and youth in schools were “very safe.”
  • 27% more thought senior citizens were “very safe”
  • 34% more thought community residents were “very safe.”
  • 25% more thought children and youth going to and from school were “very safe”

Community Evolution

These questions evidenced that residents felt their neighborhood was on a positive trajectory that would continue, a marked difference from responses in 2013. Fifty-four percent believed the community had improved some or a lot in the last three years, a 37% increase from 17% in 2013.  Owners in particular responded more positively about the community improvement over the past three years: forty-eight percent more felt the community had improved some or a lot over the past three years, up to 63% from 15%.

Additionally, the 2016 responses reflected that the residents were more hopeful about the future of their community. Sixty-six percent said the community was likely to improve some or a lot (29% from 37% in 2013). Owners in particular responded more positively about the community improvement over the past three years: forty-eight percent more felt the community had improved some or a lot over the past three years.

Homeownership

In 2016, 21% more respondents who identified as “renters” said they would consider buying a home in the community, up to 50% from 29% in 2013. Thirty-nine percent of respondents that said they would consider buying a home in this community sited “Physical conditions of the houses available” as one of the reasons they had not yet bought a house in the community. In 2013, 71% of renters would not consider buying a home in the community, primarily because of crime and other safety issues (44%).

Use of the Results

These results have been shared with the community residents at community events, at Project VISION meetings, and at numerous other stakeholder meetings. These results have been and will be used to inform more community revitalization efforts.

For more information, email Shannon Kennelly at [email protected].