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Political Science Research Methods Whitworth University

Community Priorities Interviews Faculty Advisor: Patrick Van Inwegen Authors: Christine Barker, Michael Beck, Eric Fullerton, Adrian Kitimbo and Hannah White

NECC


NECC Community Priorities Interviews Students from Political Science Research Methods at Whitworth University worked with the Northeast Community Center (NECC) to conduct interviews that would help the Center determine emerging needs of the community and whether or not the NECC was meeting those needs. The point of the interview data was to help the employees and administrators of the NECC continue to sufficiently serve the various needs of the community. During the week of May 3-7, we interviewed 19 individuals in the Northeast community or in the surrounding neighborhood. Given this limited number of interviews, this is a preliminary indication of community sentiment at best. This summary includes an overview of the interview process, a summary of what we found as well as several appendices that include the actual survey and the responses for each individual. We designed a survey to be administered through brief face-to-face interviews with members of the community, NECC employees, and people working around the NECC. We chose this style because we wanted the flexibility to pursue details within a conversation. Because of resource constraints, we only interviewed people at a few locations: the NECC, a grocery store, and a coffee shop. The survey included three basic open-ended questions to understand what the respondent thought would become an important issue in the community that the NECC may have to address in the upcoming years. This conversation was followed up with some closed-ended questions, asking respondents to identify which NECC agencies they thought would see an increase or decrease in demand in the upcoming years and if there needed to be any additions to the NECC. After taking notes during the interviews, we compiled all the concerns that were mentioned. The areas that multiple people identified were: Children, Youth, Working Adults, the Elderly, Police Protection/Crime, Drugs, Neighborhood Clean-Up, the need for Jobs or industry in the neighborhood, affordable housing, afterschool care (specific mentions of a program for children or youth), Preschool/Day Care, Access to Health Care, Gangs, Meals and Nutrition. Respondents were typically not able to quickly think of an answer to the questions posed. Furthermore, the answers given were closely related to the circumstances of that person. For example, senior citizens were less aware of community needs of children or working parents. Adults who worked with children were unlikely to mention the needs of the elderly. All respondents were wary of answering which agencies would see a decrease in demand. They


interpreted this question to mean which programs would be likely to be cut and most said that they didn't want to cut any programs. The time it took people to respond and their responses indicate that there was not an overriding consensus of needs not being met for most people. Respondents either didn't know or only knew about their area of specialty. Table 1 Respondent Demographics Table 1 summarizes the demographics of who was interviewed. We interviewed a few NECC employees, but focused our research on local residents and business employees. We had an imbalance of gender but a balance between three age groups, 18-30, 30-55, and 55+.

Number of Respondents

Male Female

5 14

NECC

Table 2 summarizes the results of the Employees 3 issues that respondents felt were most Community important. The most frequently expressed Members 8 need is for more and better youth Local Business programs, with almost half of the people Employees 8 indicating that after school care, youth issues and children were all important. This may be due to the fact that many of the 18-30 5 parents of the children in the community 7 do not work in close proximity to the NECC 30-55 or surrounding schools, or work long hours, 55+ 7 which leaves a large time period where the children are unsupervised. Almost half of interviewees also mentioned the need for services for the community youth/teenagers specifically. Many of the individuals indicated that they felt this was the most important thing that the NECC could have an effect on because many of the children are at key stages in their psychological and social development. After school programs were seen as a way to keep youth off the street, and away from drugs and crime. The second most common need of community members is more law enforcement or police presence. This issue was most frequently observed among the individuals in community, many of whom felt that drugs and other gang related problems are a problem that may not be as much of a priority as they should be. Other concerns that were mentioned during the interviews were the need for neighborhood cleanup (about 1/3 of respondents) and the growing need for affordable housing (about 1/4 of respondents). Many of those


who listed this as an issue felt that the need will greatly increase over time as the average age of the members in the community continues to rise. Table 2: Respondents who Mentioned Each Concern/Need Percentage and number Concern of Respondents 52.6% (10) Afterschool Care 47.4% (9) Youth 42.1% (8) Children 42.1% (8) Police Protection/Crime 31.6% (6) Neighborhood Clean-Up 26.3% (5) Affordable Housing 21.1% (4) Need for Industry/Jobs 21.1% (4) Drugs 15.8% (3) Gangs 15.8% (3) Elderly 15.8% (3) Preschool/Day Care 10.5% (2) Working Adults 10.5% (2) Access to Healthcare 10.5% (2) Meals/Nutrition The data was arranged from most mentions to least mentions, and included only responses that were given by more than one person. The programs expected to see an increase in demand were WIC, SNAP, DSHS, HeadStart and CHAS. All other programs were either recognized once or never. Eleven respondents thought WIC would be increasingly important in the neighborhood. However, we felt there might be bias in these responses. The programs that were identified as increasingly important were probably the only ones that the respondents knew about because they were not often able to identify the others or would ask what they did. Only a few responses suggested new services, and they included vision and dental services, a Hillyard water park, and an art-based afterschool program for youth.


Appendix A: North East Community Center Priorities Survey Hello, my name is ___________________, I am a student at Whitworth University conducting a brief survey for the Northeast Community Center, I am not selling anything. This will take less than five minutes. Your answers will be kept completely confidential and will not be connected to you individually. You may refuse to answer any question, stop the survey at anytime, and request to not have the answers used without penalty. The data from the survey will be summarized and given to the North East Community Center to help them plan to meet emerging needs in the community and your participation is extremely important. May I proceed with the survey? What needs do you see becoming more important in this neighborhood in the next few years? Follow up questions: What concerns do you have about the neighborhood? What changes have you noticed in the neighborhood? The Northeast Community Center Association (NECCA) is a neighborhood based, non-profit organization founded in 1980 by Northeast Spokane residents. It has developed partnerships with neighborhoods, local businesses and industries. Through these partnerships they are able to expand available resources for community services and facility support. The Northeast Community Center believes that the best strategies for building healthier neighborhoods will come from neighbors themselves. All direct services are provided in partnership with public, private, community and neighborhood organizations. We currently have ten unique agencies operating in our facility (show them the list). Of the following agencies, which do you think is likely to see increased demand in the future? Of the following agencies, which do you think is likely to see decreased demand in the future? Are there any areas that you think will likely be important to serve community members that are not currently provided by these agencies?


Work Readiness Connection (WRC), helps to prepare people for their employment search by providing personal help with resume, cover letters, interviewing, and computer knowledge. SNAP (Spokane Neighborhood Action Program) provides financial assistance for low income households, budget counseling, energy assistance, weatherization, and minor home repair. NE Food Pantry housed within NE Pantry section, the food pantry offers emergency food bank services for clients in the Northeast area. The Hillyard Senior Center gives senior citizens an outlet for recreation, nutritional meals, health and social services. Head Start is a program that offers classroom learning for preschool-age children of low income families. Spokane Regional Health District is one of 34 local public health agencies that work to promote and protect the health of Washington citizens. Periodically offers special services, such as ABC Dental for Children, blood lead level screening and flu immunizations at the Northeast Community Center. Community Health Association of Spokane (CHAS), provides professional primary health care to families and individuals with or without health insurance coverage, on a sliding fee basis. Easter Seals Washington (Formerly SPOC of Spokane),provides information about oppertunities for education and employment that can lead to financial independence. Furnishes a place where low-income families can connect with peers and supportive staff through support groups and workshops. Northeast Child Development Center (NCDC),a program of Easter Seals of Washington, offers full-day childcare with an emphasis on developing early learning skills and kindergarten readiness. Women, Infants, & Children (WIC), is a program that offers nutrition and health information to families. WIC also provides supplementary food to infants and women who are pregnant. Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS), is an outreach program for families. Finally, could you recommend others in the community that I could talk with who know the community well and would be able to provide insights into the direction the neighborhood is likely to go in the future? Demographics: Gender, estimated age, source (business employee / working at NECC / individual not at job at time of interview)


Estimated Age

Source

Male

55+

Community Member

Male

55+

NECC Staff

Male

30-55

Community Member

youth

Male

18-30

Community Member

Community strengthening

Male

55+

Community Member

Commerce, law enforcement

Female

55+

Female

55+

Community Member Community Member

Female

30-55

Employee

Female

55+

Community Member

Female

18-30

Employee

loitering, neighborhood and road clean – up loitering, neighborhood and road clean – up children needs, drug usage among younger kids Head start services, recreational activities, transportation for the elderly, Need for more meals Dental center, pharmacy, medical services for middle aged men, shortage of low income housing

Gender

Growing Needs loitering, police protection, neighborhood and road clean – up Dental center, vision center, commerce, elderly services, recreational services

Neighborhood Concerns

Neighborhood Changes

Agencies Growing Need

car thefts

low employment and crime rate

SNAP & WIC

Homeless center crimes and drug use Racism, lack of communal relationships Drug problems, After school programs for kids

Increased need for low income housing the ‘face lift’ of Hillyard. New Water Park!

Senior Center DSHS

N/A

After school activities

Loss of business

NCDC & DSHS

low employment and crime rate low employment and crime rate low employment and more gangs

Teen program, CHAS & WIC

Lack of after school programs, loss of funding for services at the NECC,

N/A

NCDC

Health care needs not provided

Shortages of low income housing

Pharmaceutical services, dental services

decline in violence and decline in youth center decline in violence and decline in youth center

SNAP, CHAS, dental for adults, teen programs, DSHS, counseling & legal resources SNAP, CHAS, dental for adults, teen programs, DSHS, counseling & legal resources

N/A

WIC

car thefts car thefts growing gangs

Female

18-30

NECC Staff

youth/teens, childcare, and senior programs

Female

18-30

NECC Staff

youth/teens, childcare, and senior programs

police and gangs

Female

30-55

Employee

N/A

N/A

police and gangs

SNAP & WIC SNAP & WIC


Gender

Estimated Age

Source

Female

18-30

Employee

Female

55+

Employee

Female

30-55

Employee

Female

30-55

Employee

Growing Needs poor families that cannot provide for their kids low cost housing, families are struggling, clean up the neighborhoods (alleys, abandoned cars) low cost housing, families are struggling, clean up the neighborhoods (alleys, abandoned cars) low cost housing, families are struggling, clean up the neighborhoods (alleys, abandoned cars)

Neighborhood Concerns

Neighborhood Changes

Agencies Growing Need

poverty and boredom among youth

the generation change

Head Start

general concern for the well being of the kids

N/A

SNAP, WIC, DSHS & more volunteers/mentors

general concern for the well being of the kids

N/A

SNAP, WIC, DSHS & more volunteers/mentors

general concern for the well being of the kids

N/A

SNAP, WIC, DSHS & more volunteers/mentors

no more graffiti on her wall she has been there.

SNAP, WIC & youth art program

the ‘face lift’ of Hillyard. New Water Park!

WIC

Female

30-55

Employee

youth

the poverty and low employment give some people too much time with nothing to do

Female

30-55

Community Member

youth

crimes and drug use


NECC Priorities Interview Summary