Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Jerusalem Farms, a nonprofit organization.

In the Fall of 2020, Jerusalem Farm conducted a “Resident Perceptions Survey.” It is currently the largest survey conducted of Northeast residents to date. The survey was made public to all residents, but Jerusalem Farm made extra efforts to reach immigrant, refugee and minority groups to receive their feedback. The survey was made available in five different languages. 

Here are a small portion of the responses from various neighbors when asked about housing/yard conditions and the use of code enforcement:

“I would love it if my neighbors had access to resources on fixing up their homes. A lot of them are refugees and I’m afraid they are just unaware of any programs or know people who could help them with certain housing projects.”

“Property tax increases will continue to change the affordability of the neighborhood for residents who have been in their neighborhood the longest. If the government can incentivize with tax breaks for luxury apartments, they can stop property tax increases on those who desperately want to stay in their home while funding renovation to help revitalize neighborhoods.”

“This is of low importance to me and in fact I think it is disgusting the way the city harasses my neighbors who are older or working 3 jobs who can’t keep their yard in pristine condition. It’s gross.”

“Create a program with easy payment for home repairs other than a bank because they charge high interest.”

“I believe most people would like to beautify their yard and home exterior. However, the level of income in the area makes this difficult for many. It would be great if there were more grants or donations for this type of work.”

“One thing to avoid is attempting to enforce code violations on the neighborhood through the city inspector. There is a fee associated with the violations and it only leaves 10 days to make the repairs, which could be a huge burden to residents. It would seem like it would help, but it is a mechanism that developers/investors use to push residents out of the neighborhood when they can’t afford the beautification or improvements.”

This spring, Jerusalem Farms will be holding more community listening sessions, engaging neighborhood associations and other neighborhood groups. The purpose of this survey work is to elevate the voices of residents living in the Northeast. In the research conducted in 2020, 72% of residents responded that they are likely to recommend their neighborhood to friends or family as a place to live. Our hope is that with a greater understanding of the needs and desires of the community, Jerusalem Farm will be able to better serve the community.

In 2021 Jerusalem Farm was able to complete 36 home repair projects and helped 78 homeowners clear their code violations. We did this utilizing 23,000 volunteer hours and investing over $118,000 in home repair materials into the community. As we continue to listen to our neighbors, we hope to serve and invest at even a greater capacity moving into 2022.

If you would like to learn more about our listening sessions or survey and organizing work, please contact us at jordan@jerusalemfarm.org.