Downstreet Hosts Resident Focus Group
In mid-March, Downstreet gathered together a mix of residents from our apartments for rent, mobile home parks and shared-equity homeowners to talk about what Downstreet is doing well and what Downstreet can do better. It was an inspiring evening of conversation that yielded introspection and great ideas that will help to inform our strategic plan for the next five years. Here is what our focus group participants had to say:
IDEAS FOR IMPROVING FINANCIAL SECURITY
- Education: helps people see the pathways out of poverty
- Create awareness of alternatives to addiction
- Start tiny house communities with shared resources
- Transitional housing
- Promote economically diverse housing
Many told their own stories about how DS has helped them have a better, more economically stable life.
IDEAS FOR PROMOTING GROWTH OF HEALTHY COMMUNITIES
- Connect people from different walks of life to foster to community.
- Promote community gatherings, using common space for socializing, eg block parties.
- Help people feel safe to be themselves.
- Be accessible to all income levels, different levels of education
- Community breakfasts
- Share things like carpet cleaners
REACTIONS TO A DEEP DIVE (focusing our attention on a specific area)
- Could help improve community infrastructure
- Stop stigma (i.e. Barre)
- Promote community wide conversations
- Encourage partnership to rehab foreclosed and abandoned properties
IDEAS FOR HOW TO IMPROVE CUSTOMER SERVICE
- People need to be listened to
- More maintenance staff: current staff overwhelmed. Outlying areas underserved
- Could local network be helpful with routine maintenance (volunteers)?
- Electric car plug in
- More solar panels
- Tool lending library
- Share internet and satellite in properties
- Provide car wash station
- Continue to push energy efficience
WHAT DO HOMEOWNERS NEED FROM DOWNSTREET?
- New homeowner/post-purchase workshop would be really helpful
IDEAS TO SPREAD DOWNSTREET’S MESSAGE, PROMOTE COMMUNITY & GROW ENGAGEMENT OF DOWNSTREET MEMBERSHIP
- Volunteer coordinator would be great to help build community on properties.
- Events coordinator
- Staff needs to be more visible: Not enough people know about us.
- Newsletter is under-utilized; have a section about sharing resources: “Sharing corner”
- Downstreet could have its own “Front Porch Forum” through the website