In the past week, we have been coordinating with our community partner, Jonathan, on varying our survey methodology based on his feedback. We are confident and proud to say that we have arrived at a satisfactory final version of the survey. Given that the survey will be conducted on paper, we were able to alter the survey format to allow for several houses data to be recorded on one sheet of paper.
Currently, we are working on a training module to accompany the survey. We are also almost done with our written report, funding analysis and presentation preparations.
What We Observed and Learned
While going through the funding analysis for the Choice grants we realized, that through our observations,The City of Salinas currently has much of the documentation necessary to successfully apply for federal grants to revitalize the Alisal NRSA. Whether the HUD Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant will be a viable source of funding however depends on the City and the County’s assessment of the current state of public housing. A specific criteria for the grant application is that a public or assisted housing project within the neighborhood that is severely distressed must be identified to be rehabilitated. Because of the Housing Authority’s active attempts to maintain the state of public housing in Monterey County, most public housing projects are in fair conditions. The more feasible route may be to identify any federally assisted housing projects are in currently in disrepair within the Alisal area. Other eligibility requirements on the conditions of the neighborhood are in fact met as the Alisal suffers from high crime and substandard housing conditions overall.
Critical Analysis/Moving Forward
Currently our methodology is based on a paper model, requiring volunteers to physically write down their assessments. The data collected is then to be recorded on a map for better visualization. If done by hand on physical maps, then it should not be as time intensive. However, we are aware of the city’s ambitions to map out the data and layer it on top of an already existing GIS database. To achieve this, the survey data will have to be duplicated into an excel form which would cause additional labor; something that may not be as sustainable for the city in later stages of the project. To mitigate this, we will recommend to our partner that they migrate the methodology to a digital platform that is linked to their office’s GIS database, in order to automate a significant chunk of the process.
We do understand that there are budgetary constraints that may stymie the transition and as such do believe that the paper survey should suffice for now. We are looking forward to presenting our findings, deliverables and recommendation this coming week and are grateful for an awesome opportunity to partner with The city of Salinas on their community vibrancy plan in the Alisal.