Salem city hall (Salem Reporter)

The federal government wants to know: How do you feel about your access to housing in Salem, and the laws in place to protect that access?

A pair of surveys announced by city officials Friday morning ask residents how they feel about everything from construction of new housing and the local economy to the laws that ensure people are treated fairly when applying for housing. The surveys can be found online here.

The surveys help Salem tell the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development how it plans to spend the millions of dollars it receives annually. The city of Keizer is also part of the survey.

“This is the community’s shot for the next five years to inform how the dollars will be spent,” said Urban Development Director Kristin Retherford.

Salem and Keizer, like many communities in the nation, receive federal dollars that can be given to housing projects, providers of social services and more.

Between the two dominant federal programs -- Community Development Block Grants and HOME Investment Partnership grants – Salem has received more than $4.2 million in the last two years, according to officials in Salem’s Urban Development Department.

“Those dollars, some of them fund different social service activities, they fund really important tools like rental assistance that we offer tenants, and they fund renovations of existing affordable housing stock and preservation,” Retherford said.

The surveys will help the city complete a “consolidated plan” for the next five years and an “analysis of impediments” to find how what residents feel are obstacles to obtaining fair housing. Surveys are conducted every five years, Retherford said.

RELATED COVERAGE:

City commission derailed over potential conflicts of interest (Nov. 16, 2018)

Salem moves to dismantle, replace commission overseeing federal dollars (Dec. 11, 2018)

Have a tip? Contact reporter Troy Brynelson at 503-575-9930, troy@salemreporter.com or @TroyWB.