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2019 city survey finds homelessness, poverty top concern in Citrus Heights

A 2019 city survey shows homelessness/poverty were listed as the “most important problem” by residents in Citrus Heights. // 2019 Community Survey, EMC Research

Sentinel staff report–
A community survey conducted by a research firm on behalf of the City of Citrus Heights found homelessness and poverty tops the list of problems for residents in Citrus Heights — far exceeding concerns with road repair, traffic and crime.

The 2019 Community Survey, conducted by Oakland-based EMC Research, found 32% of residents surveyed listed homelessness/poverty as the “most important problem” in Citrus Heights. Coming in second was a category for crime/safety/drug use/gangs at 12%, and “roads/road repair” coming in third at 7%.

The survey was conducted through a live telephone poll of 400 voters from July 9-16, 2019, using both landline and mobile phone numbers. EMC reports the results have a margin of error of 4.9 percentage points.

Other questions included constituent priorities, themes of interest and ratings of how well the city government is doing its job. Residents were also asked a pair of questions relating to local funding.

Overall, 73% of respondents ranked the quality of city services as “good” or “excellent.” A similar ranking, 74%, was given when asked about the quality of life in Citrus Heights. The overall safety of the city was ranked by 62% of respondents as “good” or “excellent.”

Asked to rank issues by priority, homelessness appeared fifth on the rankings as a “very high priority,” with the highest priority listed as “Keeping Citrus Heights city government transparent and accountable.”

Other top priorities listed by respondents included providing 911 emergency response services, maintaining school safety and security, and preventing cuts to 911 emergency response and police services. Lower-ranked priorities included filling potholes and repairing streets, attracting and retaining local business, and maintaining crime investigation and prevention programs.

Questions about whether the city has a need for additional funding to maintain essential services found that 64% said there was either “some need” or a “great need” for more funding, and 71% were “potentially interested in additional local funding for essential services.”

See the survey results: click here

In a statement accompanying the survey, City Manager Christopher Boyd called the feedback from residents “invaluable and appreciated.”

“With violent crime down 12% thanks to our police department, crime prevention efforts and community patrols, we must also work to reduce homelessness compassionately while ensuring our neighborhood, businesses, parks and public spaces are safe and secure for everyone,” said Boyd.

In a post on social media earlier this month, the city reported that the homeless population in Citrus Heights had been “reduced by 76%” since 2017, but responses to the post from residents were skeptical. The Sentinel will be publishing a followup story with a further look at the city’s homeless statistics and efforts to reduce homelessness in Citrus Heights.

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