Resident Agency & Voice: Resident Survey in Partnership with Millersville University

Resident Services is at the core of HDC’s work, providing support to individuals who choose to live in HDC affordable housing. HDC staff connects residents with services and programs, offers skill and knowledge-building opportunities, and helps to foster a sense of community amongst neighbors so individuals can reach their full potential—not just to survive, but to thrive in HDC affordable housing.

HDC actively reflects on and revises our programs with feedback and input from residents. Their unique perspectives and lived experiences strengthen service-delivery and increase the impact of HDC’s work in affordable communities.

HDC recently worked with Millersville University’s Center for Public Scholarship & Social Change to conduct a survey to better understand the impact of HDC’s Resident Services programs and services in building agency, power, and transformation in people’s lives.

Residents were engaged in the process from the beginning, reviewing the content of the survey before it was issued. The survey was sent, in both English and Spanish, to every household in HDC’s portfolio across Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland.

Survey results indicated that the majority of residents report having a high quality of life while living in HDC affordable housing. Residents reported the following high-level responses:

  • 90% of residents feel confident they are able to handle their personal problems.
  • 89% of residents feel they are able to control the important things in their life.
  • 89% of residents feel satisfied with their apartment.
  • 87% of residents feel safe walking in their community during the daytime.
  • 86% of residents are confident that their housing situation is stable.
  • 80% of residents feel their household is able to make financial ends meet.

These findings affirm HDC’s core belief that stable housing is the cornerstone of success in many other areas of life. We know that when an individual has secured safe, affordable housing, they can focus on other personal achievements including financial stability, educational growth, career advancement, and other goals.

Residents were also able to provide written comments and could volunteer to participate in further interviews with the researchers from Millersville. Resident quotes included the following sentiments:

  • “I plan to spend the rest of my life here. I’m very happy here & I can’t imagine going anywhere else.” (female resident, 65+, senior community)
  • “I wouldn’t move, because it would be hard to live somewhere else that has the benefits you receive here like the security of the building.” (female resident, 65+, senior community)
  • “Well, I have a 9-year-old daughter and the school district is the best for her to grow up. In conclusion, I love it here because it is an excellent environment for my kids.” (female resident, 35-44, family community)
  • “I would like to buy my own home someday. I am in the process of going back to school to further my career so that I am able to afford my own home.” (female resident, 35-44, family community)
  • “The neighbors I have here really made me feel welcome and have gone out of their way to help me when I needed it. (female resident, 55 – 64, family community)

HDC deeply values the direct feedback and personal experiences of residents who chose to participate in this survey. These results help HDC continue to improve our programs, plan future affordable housing developments, and understand the impact Resident Services has on individuals living in HDC communities every day.