Community Pulse

Current Issues

Current Issues: Rankings

Access to affordable housing was the top current issue among respondents.


Slightly over 16 percent of the votes cast for the top current issue having the most significant impact on the welfare of their communities went to access to affordable housing. The second and third ranked issues were availability of local job options and improving the quality of K–12 education. These rankings reflect a new order of results compared to our 2015 survey results.

Ranking of Community Pulse Current Issues, 2016

Note: Based on 393 respondents answering the question – “Based on your experience, please rank the TOP THREE CURRENT issues having the most significant impact on the welfare of the communities you serve TODAY.”

 

Current Issues: Rationales

If you have time, please provide a brief explanation for your rationale in selecting the issues that you ranked as TOP THREE in the question above. The selected quotes below represent explanations written verbatim by respondents.


  • Access to Affordable Housing
DC

“Affordable housing in [D.C.] metro area is making it more and more difficult for low- and moderate-income households to meet basic human needs. This then enforces increased segregation, which further limits the routes out of poverty.”

—Social Services or Public Health Agency

MD

“[T]he ability to afford housing for the majority is the make or break variable to the location of family. Quality, abundant, affordable housing and reasonable financing or leasing terms is essential to the stability of the family as wage earners are not keeping up with inflationary pressures or just recovering from recessionary results that leave individuals and families paying more than 30% of income toward housing costs, leaving marginal amounts to secure opportunities for family success.”

—Local Economic Development Authority

NC

“Gentrification and ‘student stuffer’ housing have seriously impacted the availability of affordable housing options; landlords no longer accept Housing Choice Vouchers and the cost of affordable housing development is skyrocketing.”

—Local Governing Body

SC

“Housing continues to be out of reach for many citizens and the pace of the creation of affordable options does not keep pace with the demand.”

—State-wide Policy and Advocacy Organization

VA

“A combination of recent market studies and our organization waiting list indicates that affordable housing is in short supply in our area/region. Much of the affordable housing that exists is older, public housing stock that will need renovation. Relatively recently, downtown affordable housing was closed, actually reducing the stock.”

—Urban/MSA Community Development Nonprofit

WV

“Access to affordable housing is an ongoing issue in our area. Our area sports a high percentage of home ownership but that is very misleading because it does not take into consideration the quality and standard of the home[s] [th]at are owned.”

—Community Action Agency


  • Availability of Local Job Options
DC

​“Availability of local job options is the factor influencing macro economy of local community. As the local job options are affluent, residents in the community will be able to pursue their preferable careers and contribute to the community with their best performance.”

—State Department of Housing and Community Development Agency

MD

"Loss of coal/oil jobs that paid living wages. Job replacement options have little in comparable skill sets. This makes what was skilled labor, unskilled labor overnight. Lack of leadership/understanding confuses many to think the symptoms of the disease is the disease itself. Thus limited resources are wasted on ineffective policy matters/considerations.”

—Local Economic Development Authority

NC

“Working with the Western Piedmont Council of Governments and Burke Economic Development, we have received data that supports the fact that our young people are graduating from high school, going on to college, and not returning to Burke County. Job opportunities are not available for them. ‘Youth flight’ has been identified as a significant issue in our community, directly as a result of the county never recovering from the loss of the furniture industry.”

—Philanthropic Organization

SC

“In this beautiful community, which attracts tourists and second home owners because of its gorgeous location, there is a severe lack of living wage jobs. Young people who grow up here must move to another community to find a job that will support a family unless they are blessed with inheritance. There is an abundance of minimum wage jobs due to the tourism industry. We have a growing population of retirees and a shrinking population of young professionals. ... It is not unusual for a person living in poverty to need to travel an hour or more for a job in the next county that still doesn’t support a family adequately.”

—Philanthropic Organization

VA

“Availability of local job options — In rural Virginia, it is difficult to attract industries that pay living wage jobs. Many factors contribute to this problem but this would be a key factor for this particular region of Virginia.”

—Community Action Agency

WV

"In our depressed counties, there are no job opportunities. The decline in coal has decimated our southern counties. For economic development to take place we need an educated, sober and trained work force, which is lacking.”

—Academia or Policy Center


  • Improving the Quality of K-12 Education
DC

​“K–12 education is the critical baseline helping residents have equal opportunities to grow and pursue their careers.”

—State Department of Housing and Community Development Agency

MD

“Improving the quality of K–12 education will make possible that jobs and skills needed will be addressed for current and developing needs in the infrastructures of our city as well as our neighborhoods. Basic and long-standing skills immediately needed cannot adequately be met, such as plumbing, brick masonry, and building related issues, including the making of goods and services. The manner and lack of cultured understandings are missing with many middle-age and young adults in job satisfactions and results, which does not often result in good quality of delivery in major areas as well as limited skill areas. Retooling and training in skills of past years and high technology currently needed is lacking.”

—Urban Community Association of Neighborhoods

NC

“The quality of K–12 education in our county is overwhelmingly the greatest obstacle to industrial growth in that it greatly limits the ability to attract and retain skilled employees with children and greatly diminishes the ability of the community to demonstrate the ability for industry to attract a future skilled workforce.”

—Local Economic Development Authority

SC

“Additionally, the challenges in K–12 education and access/affordability to quality early childhood education is having major impact on the student preparedness for workplace and beyond.”

—Urban/MSA Community Development Nonprofit

VA

“Having access to quality education (early childhood and K–12) halts the cycle of poverty. Quality education provides programs and resources that impacts attendance, school behaviors, and course completion. All of these things affect children and families in ways that better prepares them for a future and reduce the probability of them remaining at their current economic standing.”

—Philanthropic Organization

WV

"With good K–12 education, children are better positioned to obtain skilled employment.”

—Community Action Agency

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