Housing, economy, isolation among community concerns in Boulder County survey,

Longmont Ledger: Initial findings from Boulder County’s wide-reaching American Rescue Plan, or ARPA, funding survey were revealed in a public meeting of the county commissioners on Nov. 10. 

Boulder County Commissioners and outreach specialists brought the survey to communities throughout the county — particularly the Latinx and mountain communities — to determine how best to spend Boulder County’s $63.3 million in ARPA funds. A total of 1,543 people responded to the survey throughout the county, with the largest number of responses coming from Longmont.

The public meeting addressed some of the broad issues including access to affordable housing, ongoing economic impacts from COVID and addressing the digital divide that limits community access to available resources. 

“The initial findings are important and the commissioners’ openness to go directly to residents of our community, to understand and hear from them what they think our highest and greatest needs are is meaningful in terms of how government and residents engage,” said Tatiana Hernandez, executive director of the Community Foundation Boulder County.

The initial outreach was met with some distrust from members of the community that held concerns on whether or not their opinion mattered or had any effect, according to a broad spectrum of community members. Hernandez felt that in order to regain trust from residents of the county, outreach and follow-through were the keys to securing future community engagement. 

Of note, 27% of respondents in the survey indicated that negative economic impacts were the biggest challenge during COVID — pandemic-related job losses causing households to fall behind on rent or mortgage payments, increase in property taxes and housing costs leaving families unable to meet other basic needs. Read more>>