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--- Issued December 22, 2013

The Erie Housing Authority received an early Christmas present this year. The 2013 Safety and Residents Survey prepared by KeyStone Research Corporation of Erie contains good news: residents are happy with the Housing Authority of the City of Erie.

“It is very gratifying, especially, to see that the perceptions of both safety in public housing, as well as satisfaction with our managerial and maintenance staffs are higher than last year,” Erie Housing Authority Executive Director John Horan said.  “We were particularly pleased with the fact that almost 90 percent of our tenants said they would recommend our housing to friends or family members.  Also, our satisfaction levels were higher across the board in just about every category.

"This is all indicative of the hard work of the Authority’s staff and commitment to continuous improvement by our Board of Commissioners.”

The Housing Authority has conducted the safety and satisfaction survey annually since the late 1990s.

Horan said survey data provides insight into safety issues in neighborhoods, which can then be addressed by the Housing Authority and its partners, such as the Erie Police Department.

 “There is always room for improvement, and the data we collect in this survey annually helps us make improvements where needed,” he said.

Among the survey findings:

•    Almost 90 percent of residents surveyed for the authority's 2013 annual Safety and Satisfaction Survey reported that they feel safe while home alone at night all of the time or most of the time. That compares to about 86 percent in 2012.
•    About 75 percent reported that they feel safe alone at night in a development parking area always or most of the time, as compared to 73 percent in 2012.
•    Nearly 75 percent of respondents living in family developments said they feel safe about their children playing in the neighborhood during the day always or most of the time, as compared to about 67 percent last year.
•    About 88.5 percent of respondents living in family developments said they always or most of the time feel safe while walking alone in the neighborhood during the day compared to about 87 percent last year.

"There is no doubt that perception of safety in public housing is very high," Horan said.

He pointed to other significant findings in the areas of management and maintenance.  “These two areas are very important, because it is where the rubber meets the road in terms of the Authority’s interaction with our residents. We are very proud of our management and maintenance staffs.  They are the front line ambassadors to our residents.” 

Horan noted that:

•    Almost 95 percent of residents in public housing developments responded “always” or “most of the time” to the question about whether their manager provides timely information about their lease and rules.  Regarding responsiveness to questions and concerns, 89.2 percent said “always” or “most of the time.”  As to whether their managers were professional and courteous, 89.9 percent said “always” or “most of the time.”  These responses showed significant improvement compared to 2012.  In the area of “timely information about leases and rules, ” 90.7 percent showed satisfaction in 2012 as compared to 93.3 percent in 2013.

•    Satisfaction with maintenance is very high.  About 92 percent said the buildings are well maintained; 89.2 percent responded that maintenance response is prompt: 88.5 percent said maintenance work is completed properly the first time; 93.1 percent said the maintenance staff is courteous and professional – as compared to 92 percent in 2012.

Also in the survey:

•    Only 4.8 percent of respondents living in family sites said crime is a serious problem, compared to 6.3 percent in 2012. Only 2.9 percent of those living in senior sites said the same, as compared to 3.3 percent in 2013.

•    The most serious problem, according to the survey, was the lack of parking at senior developments, with 16 percent of respondents dissatisfied. Even at that, 84 percent of seniors said parking was not much of a problem to no problem.

Horan credited a community policing program and various social service programs the Housing Authority offers to children and adults, including youth clubs and job training programs, for the positive responses in 2013 and previous years. "The residents of public housing see that we're not only here to collect rent," he said. "We're here to help them raise their families in a safe environment and give them the tools to become self-sufficient."

The complete survey results are available on the Housing Authority’s web site, www.hace.org.

For additional information, or interview opportunities, contact John Horan at 452-2425.