San Bernardino coalition releases research focused on finding solutions to issues residents experience
A coalition of nine Inland Empire non-profits has released a study that asked San Bernardino city residents what recommendations they had to help improve the city.
Just San Bernardino (Just SB) released the study, which they're calling The People's Plan for Economic Inclusion. “The general idea for the study was about trying to identify the core issues that more or less plague the city of San Bernardino and result in the level of poverty that we see and experience," said Inland Congregations United for Change (ICUC) organizer Christian Flores.
For the research, Just SB talked to over 4,000 residents and conducted online surveys, door-to-door surveys, and focus groups that were asked to share their views. “For the focus groups, they were groups of between five and eight participants, and they were all recorded, and then we had assistance from students with the sociology department at Cal State San Bernardin go through all the audio data," Flores said.
Vanessa Perez is the Executive Director for the Time for Change Foundation and also helped facilitate focus groups. She said one of her biggest takeaways was that many renters in the city are unable to become homeowners. “Of those renters, they are paying more than 30% of their income on housing, and we know that housing should be affordable and shouldn't be more than 30%; however, the majority of people in this city are paying more than that," Perez said.
Of those surveyed, only 22% owned a home, and nearly 50% were renters. As part of the overall report, Just SB made several recommendations in the fields of education, environmental justice, economic development, and much more.
Perez says they want the city of San Bernardino needs to accept those recommendations. “Those recommendations are from the people, so this is the people's voice; we want the people's voice to be heard, to our elected officials, to the city to make sure that this economy works for us," Perez said.