To determine the best development mix of future Corinthian developments it is vital to assess the satisfaction of current residents as well as determine the preferences of future residents. To do this we conducted a survey of the Corinthian Homes residents. Those findings are described below. A separate survey was conducted of the waiting list for future Corinthian Housing which is described in a subsequent section.
The Corinthian Homes survey was a door-to-door survey of all 45 Corinthian Housing units. Our survey was broken down into questions which dealt with why people choose to live in Corinthian; how satisfied people are with their neighborhood and neighborhood amenities; how satisfied people are with their housing unit; transportation issues; desired amenities and services; and demographic information. A total of 23 residents (51%) completed the survey (see appendix for a copy of the survey).Choosing Corinthian Homes
We asked Corinthian residents where they lived prior to living in Corinthian Homes. Three-fourths lived in Newark (40% in the Central Ward and 35% elsewhere in Newark). The other 25% lived in other parts of Essex County. Overall, Corinthian Homes does draw people from outside the neighborhood, but not from too far away.
We also asked residents why they chose to live in Corinthian Homes. Answers included the affordable rents, location/convenience, to live near friends, family, church, and other reasons. Most people surveyed (57%) chose Corinthian Homes because of the affordable rents. However, a large number (17% each) choose Corinthian to live near friends, family, or church and other reasons. Other reasons included ‘to live in a better environment’. Obviously, affordable rents are a large draw toward Corinthian Homes. However, social networks and neighborhood environment are also added benefits to Corinthian Homes.
Our survey asked a number of questions to evaluate residents’ satisfaction with neighborhood characteristics. We asked residents to rank their responses among five degrees ranging from strongly satisfied to strongly dissatisfied. We asked how satisfied they are with Corinthian Home’s convenience to such things as: work, shopping, school, recreation, entertainment, healthcare, and church. We also asked them to evaluate how satisfied they are with the appearance of neighborhood buildings, streets, and local parks. The reason we asked this question is to determine two things: 1) what are the positive features of Corinthian’s neighborhood, and 2) to identify negative neighborhood characteristics in order to make improvements.
Most people (75%) were satisfied or strongly satisfied with Corinthian Home’s convenience to work. Convenience is a strong positive feature of Corinthian. It is near the downtown business centers, university and colleges, a hospital and local and regional transportation systems. Residents were just as happy with convenience to school, shopping, and church. However, residents were not very happy with the neighborhood’s convenience to amenities such as recreation and entertainment. Most residents felt opportunities for recreation and entertainment are lacking in the community. Many simply wanted a safe place for their children to play and run around.
Most (76%) were neutral, satisfied, or strongly satisfied with the appearance of their neighborhood. Residents were split on their opinion of the appearance of their streets. No one was strongly satisfied. However, most (55%) were unsatisfied or strongly unsatisfied with the appearance of local parks. They suggested cleaning efforts and better lighting to improve the safety perception.
To better recommend development types and mixes to Corinthian it is vital to evaluate resident satisfaction with current development. We asked a range of questions pertaining to the housing characteristics of Corinthian Homes. Residents were asked to rank their satisfaction with development characteristics ranging from strongly unsatisfied to strongly satisfied. Development characteristics in the question included for example, apartment size, security, neighbors, and appearance of development.
We found overwhelming satisfaction with unit size and the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Ninety percent of residents surveyed were either neutral, satisfied, or strongly satisfied with their units in terms of size, number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms. The amenity with the highest satisfaction rate (94%) was laundry facility. Each unit has laundry hook-ups although washer and dryers are not provided. Eighty-five percent of those interviewed were satisfied with their kitchens.
We also found high satisfaction rates (80% either neutral, satisfied, or strongly satisfied) with the appearance of the development and their neighbors in the development. Seventy-five percent of residents are neutral, satisfied, or strongly satisfied with the parking provided with Corinthian, although some wanted private, more secure parking. A lower rate (70%) were satisfied with lawns provided by Corinthian. However, respondents voiced a need for a larger play space for their children. Other residents were interested in landscaping or planting a garden but were unsure if they were able to. The amenity with the lowest satisfaction rate (45%) was security. Fifty-five percent of residents surveyed are unsatisfied or strongly unsatisfied with the security provided. Some residents have positive remarks for Newark police officers but wished Corinthian had its own security system.
We asked residents an open-ended question about what they would change about Corinthian Homes. Most responses fell under four categories: design, security, amenities, or maintenance. In terms of design, one resident preferred the units to be one level instead of two. Another simply wanted bigger units. These are comments by individuals. Corinthian may want to explore further. In terms of security, many residents want improved security. Some suggested gates around their unit and others recommended better lighting. Regarding amenities, residents want a play area for children such as a playground, yard, or community center. Residents had many recommendations in terms of maintenance. Six residents complained that the management and maintenance of the units is poor. Most maintenance issues raised related to an uncertainty of management responsibilities and requirements. Others recommended landscaping to improve the appearance of the grounds. Other residents felt their water bill was a hidden cost not discussed aptly and felt since they were renting they should not be charged. One resident simply wanted to improve the whole town.Residents Transportation
As noted on the residents’ surveys one of Corinthian Homes amenities is its location in the Central Ward of Newark, a convenient distance to downtown businesses and the transportation hub. We thought it would be interesting to determine residents’ commuting patterns. To do this, we asked residents where they work and how they travel to work. Forty-seven percent work in Newark, with 12% in the Central Ward. The remaining 53% work outside of Newark, 24% in Essex County and 29% outside of Essex County but still in New Jersey. It is interesting to note that despite the convenient location, no residents work in New York. All residents are employed.
A majority (65%) of residents drive alone to work. The next larger segment (29%) takes public transit to work. The remaining 6% travel by carpool to work.
A large number of residents (11) stated they are interested in an after-school program. Seven residents stated they would use a child care center if it was provided. A few people stated other services such as medical, dental, or an adult education program.Major Findings
Corinthian’s market for tenants is in Essex County. In fact, most residents are from Newark.
Corinthian’s Greatest Assets
Corinthian’s Greatest Obstacles
Focus marketing of housing units to families and individuals in Essex County and particularly in Newark. The demand for affordable and well-maintained housing units exists. In addition, most prospective residents interested in living in the Central Ward are currently residents of the Central Ward and Newark. Furthermore, target marketing to individuals with ties to the neighborhood, either through neighbors or church organizations.
To address the issues of safety and open space please see Volume #2 and 4 of the strategic revitalization plan. However, we highly recommend that the development of a playground or large open space for children be incorporated into future Corinthian developments.