Goal of surveys is to determine status of several key quality of life issues.
Regional non-profit organization Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley began conducting its annual Neighborhood Survey of its Allentown Promise Neighborhood (APN) earlier this week, and has also started the survey in its new Easton Promise Neighborhood (EPN). They will be completed by the end of summer with results tallied in September. The surveys allow neighborhood residents to help PNLV identify their needs related to the organization’s Promises.
PNLV conducted its first survey last summer in the APN, which encompasses nine square blocks of the Old Allentown Historic District with approximately 827 households. The 2014 survey had a 74 percent response rate, with feedback from 603 of those residences, resulting in a very strong and accurate statistical sample.
Since no baseline data for that specific neighborhood existed at the time, the organization will use the results of this year’s survey to compare to last year’s results in order to determine if improvements are being made in the neighborhood. Each year’s survey results tell PNLV where it needs to focus its efforts most in the coming year in order to best help families and children. (To read the results of the 2014 APN survey, download a PDF summary here – http://promiseneighborhoodslv.org/about-us/.)
This is the first year for the EPN survey, which is being done in Census tract 142 in a section of the city’s West Ward neighborhood. Baseline data will be collected this year and used for comparison with next year’s survey results. PNLV plans to conduct its surveys each summer in all of its local neighborhoods. The Easton Promise Neighborhood was announced in March of this year, and is the second in the region after Allentown’s, which was started seven years ago. A Bethlehem Promise Neighborhood is also in the works.
Surveys are conducted in English and Spanish by a team of part-time, temporary Resident Liaisons hired by PNLV. They are done door-to-door as well as at EPN and APN booths at various community events this summer. All staff members have been trained by professionals who volunteer on PNLV’s Measurement and Evaluation Committee in how to properly conduct the surveys. Questions deal with issues related to housing, education, employment, and community evolvement and engagement.
Inspired by the Harlem Children’s Zone, the U.S. Department of Education’s federal Promise Neighborhoods program is an initiative designed to break the cycle of generational poverty by wrapping children in a pipeline of health, social, and educational supports from birth through college. It utilizes efforts to mobilize residents, community partners, educational institutions, and business leaders to ensure the success of children from birth to career so they will thrive, succeed in school and become vital members in the community.
Promise Neighborhoods are built on a foundation of nine promises that guide their operation. In order to achieve the best results with a limited staff and limited funding, PNLV has chosen to focus its efforts in the community on the following promises:
- Children are Ready for Kindergarten
- Students are Supported in Learning by Family and Community
- Students are Proficient in Core Subjects
About Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley
Founded in 2007 by United Way of the Greater Lehigh Valley, Promise Neighborhoods of the Lehigh Valley unites residents and leaders from various sectors to ensure the success of children from birth through career. Promise Neighborhoods accomplishes its work through place-based, collective impact efforts. Its office is located at 1101 Hamilton Street, Suite 345-346 in Downtown Allentown. For more information, visit www.PromiseNeighborhoodsLV.org.