Waco, TX (FOX 44) — Waco’s Department of Housing and Community Development is going door-to-door to gather the needs of each community.
The goal in this is to create a plan for each community to receive American Rescue Plan Act funds to improve Waco’s quality of life.
North Waco is the city’s current focus area for trying to get community feedback in its survey. East Waco was the last area to provide feedback, and city officials say the needs are wide-ranging.
“What we found was that, especially for residents of 76704 and 76705, infrastructure was a big one, especially street quality and street lighting,” said City of Waco Management Analyst Justin Rice.
Rice says the community survey for East Waco lasted from the beginning of August to the end of September. Other trends Rice noticed in the survey for East Waco were job readiness and overall housing.
“We want more affordable housing. We want rental housing, and also what surprised us a bit was we want more middle-income housing because, basically, what that told us was, ‘Hey, there just needs to be housing options in general, from the middle- to upper-income to basically just the lower-income housing,'” said Rice.
Nearly 210 surveys were submitted from East Waco. Rice says he and his colleagues shared the survey in organizations, buildings, churches and even went door-to-door.
Once the survey period closes, Rice says the findings are then given back to the community.
“Here are the findings, here’s what people have said they want. Now, what are strategies we can do, and who are the partners we can reach out to who can dig into these things?” said Rice.
Rice says the plan needs to be submitted to the Department of Housing and Urban Development by the end of 2024. The ARPA funds have to be spent by 2027. Besides the community, the Waco City Council also has a voice on how the funds will be spent.
“Nothing moves without the people. Nothing moves without the department, nothing moves without the city, but we have that data, we have community. When we have the community push, we can do that,” said Rice.
Rice says the survey will close for North Waco at the end of the month.
Public hearings on this plan will also happen in the future.
For additional comments or questions, or if you want to provide feedback, you can contact Rice at JustinR@wacotx.gov.