ROSEVILLE, NEWARK: REVITALIZING A COMMUNITY

Report to the Hispanic Development Corporation

May 29, 1996

RESEARCH TOPIC DISCUSSION: Roseville's Development


The following sections discuss the research findings using three general categories of community development: economic development, human development, and physical/environmental development. Each section integrates the relevant survey findings into a discussion of: a) the needs of Roseville and its residents; b) local resources that have potential to assist in Roseville's revitalization; and c) recommendations for enhancing the capacity of existing resources and capturing additional resources.

Economic Development

Economic development must be an important consideration in trying to organize a comprehensive plan for community development. Without economic lifeblood a community cannot thrive. Economic development has two relatively distinct aspects: income/job opportunities and local wealth/business promotion. The two are connected in a symbiotic relationship; one cannot exist without the other. In order for local residents to invest their buying power in local commerce, they must have the means and the desire to do so. To promote local spending, businesses must tailor their products to meet the needs of consumers. Even though these two aspects of economic development are inherently intertwined, it is useful for the purpose of this study to address them separately in terms of problems, needs and recommendations related to each.

Income/Job Opportunities

By the nature of its structure, the U.S. economy has abandoned many inner city residents, the majority of whom are racial minorities. A combination of economic restructuring, disinvestment in cities, suburbanization, "white flight," and other factors have left behind a pool of largely underskilled, poorly educated, and disenfranchised citizens in the urban core. Employment statistics for the section of Roseville studied are stark. The survey indicates that 22.8 percent of residents are unemployed and only 36.6 percent are employed full-time. Unemployment figures by race are as follows: 9.1 percent white, 23.7 percent black and 25 percent Hispanic. Of those who are employed full-time, 42 percent are black and 30.8 percent are Hispanic. The 1990 Census indicates that 14.7 percent of the labor force in Newark were unemployed. Contrasting the Census data to our survey, Roseville is found to have more than one-and-a-half times the unemployment of Newark. Hispanics represent a greater percentage of those who are unemployed as well as a lower proportion of those who are employed full-time. These figures seem to indicate that the Hispanic population as a community group is faring worse than African-Americans.

At the heart of Roseville's distress is the lack of marketable skills of the residents. Specifically, Hispanics are most in need of marketable job skills. When the field interviews were conducted, it was apparent that more than half of the Hispanics surveyed did not speak English with sufficient fluency. Language and cultural barriers have isolated many Hispanics, and have complicated job searches and other employment-related opportunities. Furthermore, transportation needs are especially important considering the growth of job opportunities in places other than the immediate Newark region to which public transit links are inadequate.

The larger-sized businesses within Newark offer many employment opportunities for those with low-level service skills. According to Newark's Office of Economic Development, health and high-technology industries, though currently in the process of retrenchment, still offer many low-skilled jobs. In Newark, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ), Columbus, and Beth Israel hospitals were cited as major employers within these industries. Other large employers include Essex County College, Rutgers-Newark, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT), Prudential, Blue Cross & Blue Shield, Public Service Electric & Gas, New Jersey Transit, and Newark Airport (operated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey). However, many of these jobs will remain inaccessible to Roseville residents without proper training.

There are many training programs available throughout Newark in which Roseville residents are eligible to participate. The North Ward Community Center offers computer skills and secretarial training. The Mayor's Office of Employment and Training (MoET) provides skills assessment, training, and job match-ups. FOCUS, near the Lackawanna Station, provides job development among many of its other social service programs. The Newark Business Training Institute offers free training to individuals who need to upgrade and develop their career skills. Areas of training include medical office skills, computers, legal office skills and business office skills; training usually takes 18 weeks. These last two organizations are located in close proximity to Roseville.

It should be noted that the technical training services offered do not bridge other factors related to employment such as daycare, English language proficiency (ESL), and life skills training. HDC should engage itself in building such bridges by maintaining and strengthening its connection with NCC. With the use of NCC's technical support and resources, HDC can bridge the lack of English proficiency and other specialized program needs of Roseville residents with the NCC-sponsored programs and facilities. HDC could become the primary source of information for the Hispanic population using NCC as a liaison. NCC-sponsored programs include the New Community Workforce Development Center, a state of the art facility which will use a self-paced, open-entry form of vocational training which combines basic remedial skills with specific life-skills development and social services delivery. These services are provided in the context of the specific career goal. The facility will also house the New Community Employment Center, a career counseling and placement agency that works exclusively with low-income individuals, free of charge. As an affiliate of HDC, many of the NCC programs are open to Roseville residents. NCC's credit union could also potentially serve some Roseville residents in the future.

Local Wealth/Businesses

The promotion of an economically viable commercial district is as important as the advancement of employment opportunities to the development of a healthy community. The small size of the businesses in the area offers little in terms of employment opportunities. Most of the businesses employ no more than 3 to 4 persons, nowhere near enough to combat the high unemployment of Roseville. The community's businesses are mainly small, "mom and pop"-type corner stores. They comprise liquor stores, "bodegas," take-out restaurants, fast food stops, used appliance stores, barber and beauty shops. An informal survey of "bodega" store-owners indicates that most are Dominicans, some of whom live in or near the Roseville area. There are a total of 36 businesses in the Roseville area, most of them located along Orange Street and Roseville Avenue. Appendix 3 provides a complete list of business and commercial establishments in the neighborhood. Map 2 shows the small commercial district on Orange Street and Roseville Avenue.

The most obvious place to turn to foster economic stability is the business area: the commercial district of Roseville would need to be revitalized. Improvements to these businesses must also include upgrading the quality of services and products offered to the area residents, their base clientele, to meet current and future market needs. In addition to physical clean-up and community beautification, economic development in Roseville needs to include increased security and law enforcement. Businesses should take advantage of the potential market on Orange Street, where automobile and pedestrian traffic is heavy. HDC might play a role in advocating better prices/services and city-paid awnings (from the Office of Economic Development), in organizing neighborhood cleanups (storefronts particularly) as it has in the past. The business community could begin a dialogue with residents with the help of HDC as moderator. A fund for small business loans can be established to help businesses in the community upgrade their products, services, and revenues to better serve the residents of Roseville.

According to survey results a majority of residents would like to see a supermarket locate in their neighborhood. Given that the question was left open-ended, the overwhelming request for a supermarket--at 40.6 percent—demands greater attention. The support for a clothing store at 16.8 percent was a distant second choice. Residents voiced complaints that the present shops--2 small groceries and 1 medium-sized market--were inadequate. Criticisms included poor selection, lack of quality fresh fruits and vegetables, high prices, and bad meat. For the most part, a brief inspection of these stores by surveyors concurred with resident evaluations.

Apart from its small commercial area, Roseville has some abandoned industrial sites and a few isolated businesses scattered in the mostly residential neighborhood. The former Brightboy Abrasives factory could be designated as a brownfields site and rehabilitated for commercial use with the assistance of federal and state subsidies. NCC has purchased the former Borden site (near the Roseville area) with the intention of developing it into a multi-use commercial and industrial facility. The facility will include: a modular housing factory, a small business incubator, rental space for manufacturing and service ventures, an automotive repair and training shop, and several other NCC enterprises. Roseville residents could be referred by HDC to some of these opportunities. On the whole, Roseville holds a lot of potential for economic development. While the needs are great, a turnaround can be realized if human development, job training, job placement, and provision of supporting social services are given priority.

Human Development

Human development, as defined by Bhattacharyya, is "the creation and development of people's choices and capabilities" (Bhattacharyya, 1995). The central concern of human development, he states, is with agency, that is "the capacity of a people to order their world--the capacity to create, reproduce, change, and live according to their own meaning systems." Thus, the effort to improve the knowledge base of a community, to serve as a catalyst for its human development, as well as for economic development, is a vital concern. In order to better control their lives and their neighborhood, residents need to acquire knowledge of what can be done. A subscription to the old adage "knowledge is power" can have far-reaching and positive consequences. Knowledge empowers residents to plan for self-sufficiency.

Various stages or types of knowledge for human development can be pursued as a strategy for community development within the larger frameworks of youth and adult education. Included within these is the improvement of the basic knowledge of residents of their own neighborhood's assets and weaknesses, as a tool to increase choices, develop capabilities, and take advantage of opportunities. In this section, survey results and census data on educational attainment are analyzed to assess the general "knowledge" needs of the study area of Roseville. Data for the city of Newark are also presented to explain the severity of the knowledge and educational attainment problem. This section therefore highlights the importance of a human development strategy for community development.

Youth & Education

Notwithstanding the fact that the Newark public school system has been taken over by the state, a glimpse at Table 2a illuminates the weaknesses of Newark's public school system in promoting human development. Although the Newark school district has a higher budgeted expenditure per pupil than the region and the state, it has fewer teachers and a smaller educational support service staff than the state and region, but more administrators and non-certified staff than the region and the state. The percentage of teachers with advanced degrees is far less (at 33.4 percent) in Newark than in the region (43.5 percent) and the state (39.4 percent). Most alarming is the high school proficiency rate for Newark students, 40.1 percent for the three main subjects of math, reading, and writing, while the state boasts an 82.1-percent proficiency rate. Moreover, the percentage of students who graduate is 55 percent for Newark, as compared to 79.9 percent for the region and 82.1 percent for the state (1991 data). The percentage of 1991 high school graduates who plan to continue their education was 35.6 percent for Newark students, 53.4 percent for the region and 47.6 percent for the state. The quality, or lack thereof, of education received by Newark students is certainly inconsistent with the higher budget allocation to the district per student.

The amount of state aid Newark receives and the amount it must raise through local property taxes is determined in part by the wealth of the community. The Newark district ranks in the bottom 10 percentile of all New Jersey districts in community wealth (a combination of property value and personal income). If the district is to ever move up from the bottom 10 percent, education would be key to its upward mobility through increased income. Yet, the education system is found to be one of the major culprits of keeping Newark in the bottom 10 percent.

A look at Roseville's public schools

One high school and two elementary schools, in the immediate vicinity, serve the Roseville Area. All three schools show even worse statistics than Newark as a whole, not to mention region or state comparisons. The high school, Central High, is predominately black (91 percent) with few Hispanics (5.4 percent). While Newark's high school proficiency rate on all subjects is at 40 percent, Central High School's rate is shockingly below 25 percent. Central High's graduation rate is also low at 51.2 percent, and only 24 percent of the students who graduate express an interest in continuing on to a four-year college. Attendance is also bad at 82.5 percent on a three-year average (1990-1993). Only 29.8 percent of students participate in athletic activities and 38.7 percent in other extracurricular activities. Again, it should be noted that the cost per pupil is even higher than that of Newark, but the quality of education is worse ( NJ Board of Education, 1990-91).

The two elementary schools also suffer from low ratings. William Horton elementary school is predominantly Hispanic (62.3 percent Hispanic and 32.1 percent black) while E. Alma Flagg shows an almost equal mix (51.5 percent black, 46.9 percent Hispanic). Horton students have low EWT (Eighth Grade Early Warning Test) scores. The percentages of the reading scores are as follows within categories: 20.2 percent in Level 1-"making satisfactory progress"(state at 65.8 percent in that category); 37.6 percent in Level 2-"marginal progress" category (state at 24.1 percent); and 42.2 percent in Level 3-"not making satisfactory progress" category (state at 10.1 percent). Furthermore, only 1.4 percent of Horton students participate in athletic activities and 13 percent in other extracurricular activities.

At E. Alma Flagg elementary school, the percentage scores in EWT categories are slightly better than at William Horton, but still below state averages. Again, taking the reading portion as an example, the percentages by levels were: 28.3 percent for Level 1; 37 percent for Level 2; and 34.8 percent for Level 3. Participation in extracurricular activities is higher at E. Alma Flagg (29.8 percent in athletic activities, 38.7 percent in other non-athletic activities.) Overall, the statistics show a dire need for improving the Roseville education system. Most especially, the data indicates that improvement and attention is needed to target the education of Hispanic children who seem to be faring worst.

HDC can be very instrumental in disseminating much needed information that would realize the human development potential of its youth community. Along with providing information, HDC could forge alliances with existing organizations concerned with youth educational and training issues. For example, HDC can organize parents to become more involved in their children's education using the Parent Resource Program of the Newark Board of Education. Sponsored by the Board's Community Development Division, this program tries to get parents to volunteer their services in the schools or in the Parent Involvement Committee of the Newark School District. The aim is to have a visible and coordinated effort from Newark parents in the schools. From traffic guards to cafeteria workers or workshop leaders, parents are being asked to volunteer to run certain programs. The board is trying to get all Newark schools to serve as sites for parent activities. Parents wishing to coordinate efforts in order to be heard in matters of school-based planning can contact that office or the schools themselves. HDC can be a major player in galvanizing the Roseville parents to take a more active part in school-based planning for their children's future. Using the data and findings of this study, Roseville parents could be made aware of the severity of the districts' problems.

HDC can begin by adopting one of the elementary schools and the high school in Roseville to encourage a human development agenda for the Roseville community. Adopting the school translates into knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the school and working with a school to improve the conditions through community organizing efforts. Holding HDC functions in the school, would get parents and students alike to think more about what knowledge and education can do. Sponsoring "career and vocation days" for the students by using the positive role models in the neighborhood can help to inspire future success. This would also be a way for adults to mix and network for opportunities themselves. Getting the resident mail carrier, the police officer, the electrician, the businessperson, the doctor, the lawyer, and the like involved in a presentation of the different vocations to neighborhood children can have far-reaching and positive consequences.

Attacking human development problems early is the best strategy. Developing social skills through extracurricular activities, after-school programs for health and physical education, cultural enrichment, personal and group educational development (including citizen and leadership skills) promotes wider choices and capabilities. Programs that teach character development, pride, self-help, group recognition, and team building should be encouraged. Most importantly, programs that teach the importance of attaining knowledge through education, as a passport to higher income, should be made a priority. Appendix 4 lists existing facilities and programs with which HDC can forge alliances to foster its own neighborhood programs geared to the needs of the community.

Adult Educational Attainment

The poor educational achievements of youths have, in turn, led to even poorer adult educational attainment statistics. The 1990 Census data demonstrates that the Roseville area population is worse off in almost every educational attainment category than the overall Newark population (see Table 2b). The Roseville tracts show 47 percent with a high school degree or higher, compared to 51.2 percent for the general Newark population. Of Roseville residents, 4.9 percent had a bachelor's degree versus 8.5 percent for Newark.

The statistics are even more alarming for the Hispanic population which makes up 26.1 percent of Newark's population, and 48.3 percent of the Roseville population. The fact that only 5.4 percent of Newark's total population lives in Roseville while 10 percent of its Hispanic population lives there show a concentration of Hispanics in that particular area. As mentioned earlier in the report, Roseville Hispanics are worse off in every vital statistic category than blacks in Roseville and in the general Newark area. Roseville Hispanics show 37.6 percent with a high school degree, compared to overall Newark Hispanic population at 38.6 percent; again compared to the general Newark population of 51.2 percent with high school degrees. Only 2 percent of Roseville Hispanics hold a bachelor's degree while 5 percent of Newark Hispanics hold the same. More than half of the Hispanics who speak another language other than English (93.4 percent in Roseville) do not speak English very well.

The survey area was worse off than the overall Roseville study area of census tracts 7–9. Of the Roseville residents interviewed for the study, 35.6 percent had less than a high school education, 36.6 percent were high school graduates, and 7.9 percent had college degrees. Half of the Hispanics surveyed had less than a high school education compared to 23.7 percent of African-Americans. Considerably fewer Hispanics had a high school degree (26.9 percent) than blacks (47.4 percent). It can be assumed that the Hispanic population, Roseville's in particular, needs specialized attention as it pertains to educational attainment.

The Hispanic population's human development problems are further exacerbated by higher rates of poverty. The percentage of Hispanic families below poverty level in Roseville is 35.2 percent, compared to 28.6 percent of Hispanic families for the entire city. These figures are even more pronounced when the entire population of both Roseville and of Newark is considered. The percentage of families living below the poverty level is 28.3 percent for Roseville, and 22.8 percent for Newark.

Resident Involvement and Empowerment

The attainment of basic empowering skills such as coping, problem solving, self-esteem, leadership and communication by residents is needed for successful neighborhood revitalization to occur. Any program that offers immediate involvement and gives people a goal to progress toward contributes to human development and promotes agency. The intangible benefit of having a referral center where residents interact and gain information is that it teaches people that they can take control of their lives. These skills empower people to participate fully in the economy and gets them ready for a more complex pattern of work.

There has been criticism leveled at part of the community development industry that some community development corporations (CDCs) have operated more as developers, with little concern for soliciting community input, and putting minimal effort into community organizing. CDCs have also been criticized for emphasizing housing production--and increasingly economic development--at the expense of human development. While HDC has shown little tendency in this direction, it should take note of these criticisms as it moves forward with its development activities. Bhattacharyya's conceptualization of development has at least two important implications in this regard: 1) education and other human development concerns are essential to community development, as they promote agency through enhanced intellectual and decision-making capabilities; 2) for the community development process to improve individual capabilities, opportunities, and autonomy, residents must be included as active decisionmakers in the community development planning process (ibid).

The survey indicates a strong interest among area residents in becoming more involved with HDC's activities and with efforts to improve their community. Of those surveyed, 80.2 percent indicated that they would "like to become more involved with activities that the Hispanic Development Corporation is working on." The survey process itself seemed to generate new interest among residents in neighborhood-related concerns.

Nearly the same percentage of black respondents as Hispanic respondents indicated that they were interested in further involvement in HDC's activities--at 81.6 percent, and 82.7 percent, respectively. A majority of whites surveyed (63.6 percent) were also interested. While surveying, the researchers detected little open animosity between the racial and ethnic groups. Several long-time black residents commented that the biggest problem between themselves and local Hispanic residents was the language barrier. While HDC has made the needs of Hispanics in Roseville its priority, at the same time it has worked to improve conditions for the neighborhood as a whole. Serving Hispanics, as compared to all neighborhood residents, could become problematic in the future, as HDC expands its activities and programs. The survey findings suggest that HDC would be overlooking considerable potential to expand its constituency, and to enhance neighborhood development, if it decides to focus exclusively on Hispanic concerns, rather than on the neighborhood as a whole.

Efforts need to be made to get information out to the residents of Roseville in order to encourage increased involvement in human development. A door-to-door campaign could be started by HDC to let the residents know of its existence as a resource and information and referral center in the neighborhood. The previous section on economic development offers further recommendations as to what types of training could be made available.

Physical and Environmental Development

Parallel to the economic and human development needs of Roseville are its tremendous physical development needs. Physical and environmental improvements can play an important role in meeting human and economic development needs. This section looks at three main needs in Roseville: housing; a community center; and recreational/greening space.

Housing

A striking characteristic of the housing stock in the survey area is the mix of nicely maintained (at least as seen from their exteriors) and run-down homes. There is no distinctive section of primarily structurally sound dwelling units, as there is no separate section of mainly abandoned housing or vacant lots. It is not unusual to see a greatly deteriorated house right next to a well-kept house. Such adjoining contrasts suggest conflicting projections for the future of the survey area.

The deteriorating and abandoned homes of Roseville need to be either refurbished (if even possible) or demolished and rebuilt as new housing. This will ensure safety and a better pool of housing choice that will attract new residents as well as encourage current residents to remain. Considering that close to 30 percent of residents in census tracts 7-9 live below the poverty level, a large percentage of the new housing should be geared toward those who cannot afford market-priced homes. As our survey of residents indicates, an overwhelming majority believes more affordable housing should be provided. In addition to fixing up or replacing existing housing, the great amount of vacant land should be taken advantage of to increase the number of homes in the area. Based upon the desires of the community (as indicated through the survey) and the low-income level of most residents, these homes should be made available to both renters and owners.

The housing statistics for census tracts 7-9 are in some cases worse and in others better than for the city as a whole. For instance, between 1980 and 1990, the total number of housing units dropped to a lesser degree for the three tracts than for Newark. However, in 1990 the median contract rent was greater for tracts 7-9 than the median for Newark.

Housing Stock & Value

From 1980 to 1990, as the population dropped in both Newark and in tracts 7-9, the housing stock fell also. Housing units decreased for tracts 7-9 by 13.6 percent between 1980 and 1990 (a 768 unit decrease). For Newark, there was a 15.6 percent decrease over the same period (18,914 units less). Between 1980 and 1990, vacant housing in Newark increased from 8.7 percent to 10.7 percent; for tracts 7-9, the increase was from 9.2 percent to 10.0 percent. In our more specific study area, the vacancy rate according to 1990 census is much greater: 16.5 percent, or 211 units out of a total of 1,280. This may indicate either a drop in the number of people wanting to move into Newark and into the Roseville area or that some of the housing is becoming more unlivable.

For owner-occupied units, the median housing values of units on all counts were considerably less for tracts 7-9 than for Newark as a whole. In 1990, the median value for Newark was $110,000, while the tracts' medians ranged from a low of $77,800 for tract 9 to a high of $102,800 for tract 8. The housing value of Hispanic owner-occupied units was greater than for black owner-occupied units in both the tracts and in Newark. The median value for Hispanic owned and occupied housing ranged from $87,500 (tract 9) to $112,500 (tract 7); black owned and occupied units ran from a low of $74,400 (tract 9) to a high of $85,000 (tract 8), still lower than the lowest median for Hispanics. (See Table 3a for more detail.)

In contrast to the median values of owner-occupied units (which were less for tracts 7-9 than for Newark), the median contract rent was greater for the tracts than for Newark, with one minor exception (see Table 3b). Hispanics paid somewhat higher rents than the general population and blacks in all relevant tracts, as well as city-wide. Considering all people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds, Newark's median contract rent was $383 for 1990; for the relevant tracts, the range was from $389 (tract 9) to $467 (tract 7). Hispanics paid a higher rent, from $452 (tract 9) to $475 (tract 7). Blacks paid a median varying from $364 (tract 9) to $468 (tract 7). The contract rent for blacks in tract 9 was the only median that was lower than Newark's respective median.

Tenure of Residents

The tenure in all of the areas examined is overwhelmingly rental housing. In 1990, 77.0 percent in both Newark and in tracts 7-9 rented their homes. As with the percentage of vacant units, the census for the smaller study area topped these numbers: 81.8 percent were renters in 1990. In tracts 7-9, the percentage of black renters (79.9 percent) and the percentage of Hispanic renters (79.4 percent) were almost identical.

The residents surveyed differed from the census figures in that a far greater percentage of people surveyed are homeowners (42.6 percent) than in the larger tracts 7-9 area (23.1 percent). This could be due to: a change in homeownership rates since the 1990 census; to the fact that the survey may not have obtained a representative sample of residents; or to some other reason which could not be derived from the available data. As to be expected, those living in the neighborhood for less than three years make up the highest percentage (44.8 percent) of renters. Among homeowners, 60.5 percent have resided in the area for twelve or more years.

When considering race, both similarities and differences are apparent. As with the census statistics, among both Hispanics and blacks surveyed more rented than owned their homes. Among Hispanics, 65.4 percent of those surveyed were renters; slightly more than half of blacks were renters, at 55.3 percent. An overwhelming percentage of whites surveyed were homeowners (72.8 percent), although the severity of the difference may be partly due to the low number of whites (11) surveyed.

Affordable Housing & Rehabilitation

In terms of the residents' opinions on the condition of their homes, 46.5 percent answered "good," 36.6 percent needed "some repair," and 16.8 percent stated that "lots of repair" was required. Blacks and Hispanics responded comparably on this issue and generally answered at the same rate as all respondents combined. Whites however diverged in their responses, except for the category of "some repair." Those who felt their homes were in good condition were 48.1 percent of Hispanics, 47.4 percent of blacks, and 36.4 percent of whites. Those who thought their housing needed some repair were: 34.6 percent of Hispanics; 39.5 percent of blacks; and 36.4 percent of whites. The rest, 17.3 percent of Hispanics, 13.2 percent of blacks, 27.3 percent of whites, noted the need for a lot of repair.

In a breakdown by tenure, 25.6 percent of homeowners and 44.8 percent of renters expressed the need for some repair of their homes. This is a considerable divergence that raises the question of possible neglect of housing codes by owners of rental units. Less serious, it can also mean minimal rehabilitation is needed; this, though, would still be more true for rental units than owned units. In contrast to this discrepancy, a similar percentage of homeowners (16.2 percent) and renters (17.2 percent) said their homes require lots of repair. Considering both types of tenure, a majority 53.4 percent noted that their housing was in need of some or lots of repair. (Unfortunately, the survey did not include a question concerning whether or not residents, particularly homeowners, would like assistance for rehabilitating their homes.

Differences between races arose when respondents were asked about interest in assistance with purchasing a home in this neighborhood. All white respondents were not interested in assistance. This number can be very misleading, though, since as mentioned before, only eleven whites were surveyed (the majority of whom were homeowners). The response rate for blacks was split fifty-fifty for those who did not want help, and those who did. A larger percentage (61.5 percent) of Hispanics answered "no" to assistance and 38.5 percent answered "yes." Among all who were surveyed, 61.0 percent said they are not interested in being assisted with purchasing a home in the neighborhood. This is due in some measure to the relatively large number of owners among those surveyed. Of those who rent, 53.4 percent (31 out of 58) voiced interest; only 19.0 percent (8 out of 42) of current homeowners concurred.

Despite the generally positive responses regarding tenure status, interest in home purchasing assistance, and condition of homes, 85.1 percent of residents saw a need for the construction of more affordable housing in the area. Of those, only a slightly larger percentage (45.2 percent) felt the affordable housing should be geared toward home ownership as compared to people who wished the units be for rent (40.5 percent). Fourteen percent expressed that both owner-occupied and renter-occupied units should be made available in affordable housing. A large majority, by race and ethnicity, think that there should be additional construction: among Hispanics, 84.6 percent would like to see more affordable housing built; so too would 92.1 percent of blacks surveyed; as would 63.7 percent of whites.

Although high value of housing units can be symptomatic of well-maintained units and a great demand and desire to move into a neighborhood, this is not applicable to the Roseville section, considering the large numbers of deteriorating homes and high percentage of vacant units. For Hispanics (whose poverty level is greater than for the general population, and about 10 percent higher than that of blacks), both the greater value (i.e. cost) of owner-occupied units and the higher rental costs signify a particular need for more affordable housing for Hispanics. Regardless of race, though, the need for physical strengthening of the housing stock, more affordable homes for rent, and additional below-market housing construction is clearly indicated in the relevant statistics. Keeping rehabilitated units affordable to low-income residents is also an important concern.

Existing & Future Housing Aid

On the one hand, the housing stock may deteriorate further within the next decade if: a) funding for affordable housing rehabilitation dwindles or continues at its low level; b) higher-income residents move out and leave the poorer population concentrated in an even lower tax-based area; and/or c) general apathy persists in rebuilding the community. On the other hand, the housing stock can be rehabilitated and increased if: a) additional grants and loans are directed toward this part of Roseville; b) programs whereby residents take on a more active role are initiated; and c) neighborhood pride is fostered.

The city's plans for future housing construction in the study area are not overly promising. Some city officials have indicated that less affordable housing has probably been built recently in Roseville than in other areas. Newark's Department of Economic Development explained that in the past, the city has tried to package land in Roseville for affordable housing construction, but developers were not interested. Requests made of the city for funding of new construction totaled $11 million last year (compared with only $7 million five years ago), but only $3 million was available. CDBG funds are no longer available for rehabilitation or maintenance due to federal cutbacks. Affordable housing construction is also made more difficult by the decreasing supply of city-owned land. In Roseville, there is still a substantial amount of city-owned property (see Map 4). However, since, it is not contiguous, new housing construction would most be of in-fill type.Nonetheless, a few government-assisted housing units have been built during the period of 1987-1995. The rehabilitation of nine low-income rental units on 326 Park Avenue is a government-assisted housing project in the immediate vicinity of our study area that was implemented during this same period. Since 1992, the Newark Housing Authority has built nearly 700 of the 1,800 planned townhouse-style public housing units in different Newark locations, including Roseville. More than twenty units have been built by the Newark Housing Authority on 12th and 13th Streets within the study area.

Housing is a priority for HDC, according to its director. HDC is now in the pre-development stage of constructing eleven affordable family units on currently vacant lots at 168-174 Roseville Avenue. In addition, by working with landlords and the police department, HDC has helped "clean up" apartment buildings that were once inhabited by drug dealers and users. HDC's director is continuing to dedicate her time to improving Newark's housing codes.

Officials from the Department of Neighborhood Services, which includes the Division of Inspections and Enforcement, rated Roseville's housing units as somewhere between decent and good. Since the division deals with housing complaints, it has far better insight into interior housing conditions than the researchers. Considering the ratings given by these officials as to the overall status of the housing stock, housing which is in good or decent shape needs to, at the very least, be preserved as such. But given the easily visible deteriorating homes in the area and the substantial number of residents surveyed who rated their homes as in need of "some" and "lots of" repair, clearly greater attention must still be directed toward rehabilitation as well as new construction.

The area surveyed faces many obstacles in bringing about a larger, better maintained, and economically accessible housing stock; which is needed for a more equitable housing environment. Although the obstacles are high, if funding can be resourcefully obtained and efficiently used, the housing stock in the area could eventually strengthen, and more affordable housing could be made available to those who qualify. Greater funding for affordable housing in Roseville is likely to come about only through: 1) active local community organizations; 2) a more responsive government; and 3) residents who are better informed and collectively demand positive government action on the housing issues.

As mentioned above, HDC has initiated plans to develop affordable units for families. In addition, HDC's director has recently completed a certification program in housing through the Affordable Housing Network's training program. This qualifies her as a general contractor and it may give HDC a boost in the competition for governmental and other types of funding.

Again, and most especially in this realm, HDC can draw on the expertise of New Community Corporation. Since the riots in the 1960s, NCC has been a significant provider of housing, particularly in the Central Ward. It has developed over 2,500 units for more than 6,000 residents, sheltering families and senior citizens. It also provides transitional housing for homeless families and extended care facilities.

The vacant land upon which HDC could potentially build in Roseville is considerable (see Maps 3 and 4). Some lots are scattered, others are grouped together, such as the lots HDC is currently planning to build on. Auctions are generally held for the sale of city-owned lots.

Other recommendations that HDC can follow to strengthen the area's housing stock and expand the availability of housing include: 1) informing residents through workshops, mailings, and posted flyers of what can be done to improve the housing situation and to ultimately rally them into pressuring government to enact and strengthen programs beneficial to the community; 2) holding workshops to help residents rehabilitate their homes from moderate/minor damage in an economical fashion; 3) educating residents on programs that allow them to apply for housing assistance directly and assisting in the process of applying to these programs; 4) holding social and/or cultural events which would spur neighborhood pride, thus fostering a desire to stay and take care of their homes. (See Appendix 5 for funding resources.)

Community Center

HDC discussed with the research team its desire to see a community center built in the Roseville area. The idea for a community center was expressed to HDC's director by local residents. A community center could serve a variety of functions that are essential to human and economic development in a low-income urban area. It could serve, for instance, as: a referral/resource center; a learning center; a neighborhood meeting space for discussion, planning, or cultural activities; a job skills training site; a health clinic space; or a place to socialize. A community center could also provide indoor recreational space, which is especially crucial in areas where crime, security, and the like are of paramount concern.

The lack of such a facility in Roseville is evident. Roseville currently has no health clinic space or learning center-type facilities. Tutoring and youth programs held by HDC were recently canceled due to a lack of adequate meeting space. The only existing indoor recreational space near the study area, aside from school facilities, is the Police Athletic League (PAL) / Boys Club facility. The PAL facility offers a variety of sports activities, but does not appear to be an option for many Roseville children. It is located across from the North District Precinct station (at 1 Lincoln Ave.), and is not within a reasonable walking distance of the neighborhood. School facilities have some potential for meeting recreational and other community-space needs, but tend to have limited policies for use as well as limited hours.

The need for some type of community center-facility in the Roseville area was confirmed by the survey response. Survey respondents indicated that a community center was their top priority among the choices given for a (non-business, non-housing) facility that they would like to see locate in the area. Many respondents also commented that programs and facilities for youths in particular are sorely lacking in the area.

As envisioned by its director, HDC's community center would be a place for meeting the educational, cultural, and other social needs of Hispanics in particular. The needs of Hispanics are great, and in some ways can be demonstrated to be more or less unique. It could be that these particular needs would best be served by a facility that focuses on Hispanics. An "Hispanic" community center could serve as an important political statement for Hispanics.There are, however, two significant disadvantages with building a Hispanic community center in Roseville. One is that a "Hispanic" Center could alienate non-Hispanic area residents. This concern may be particularly relevant in the Roseville case, where census figures and survey results indicate that approximately 47 percent of residents in the study area are "non-Hispanic." Despite racial and other differences, Roseville residents on the whole seem to get along. Greater cooperation among residents could be discouraged by "Hispanic" in the name of the Community Center.

Another problem with building a "Hispanic" center is that very limited resources are available for a low-income area such as Roseville. The possibility of duplicating resources is therefore a serious concern. Space currently exists in the Armory building that could be used for programs geared toward meeting community needs. Also, the West Ward Cultural Center (WWCC) will soon be located in the area. It is hard to justify the construction of a Hispanic center in addition to the WWCC, if the Hispanic center is intended to fulfill a similar purpose for neighborhood residents as will the WWCC. The construction of a Hispanic center is also hard to justify if programs that would be held in that center can be held in the Armory or the WWCC.

Plans to relocate the WWCC to 107-113 Roseville Ave. (between 7th Ave. and 6th Ave.) recently received city Planning Board approval. It is expected that construction will begin on the WWCC as early as this summer. Newark city government has committed Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to the construction of the WWCC facility. The political support of city government for the project may also prove beneficial to the level of ongoing operating support for the facility. The WWCC plans call for a focus on youth, including a K-6 school and an after-school program. Programs for senior citizens are also expected to constitute a major component, as will fashion design, art classes, and health services. The WWCC will be of similar size (approx. 5,000 sq. ft.) and layout as the Hispanic community center proposed by HDC.

The National Guard Armory building, which sits just across Roseville Ave. from the proposed WWCC site, is another neighborhood facility with significant potential for supporting an increase in community activities. The Armory is currently undergoing renovations to its existing meeting rooms and classrooms (funded by the NJ Department of Military Affairs). Rooms are available for lease (see Appendix 4) and are currently not leased to capacity. These rooms, six in all, range in size from approximately 325 sq. ft. to 864 sq. ft. for classroom space to a cafeteria space (with tables and chairs) of approximately 5,000 sq. ft. The classrooms are equipped with plenty of electrical outlets to allow installation of a computers and similar equipment. The Armory will soon house an indoor basketball court with a gymnasium floor. Construction of this gym has not yet begun but is anticipated to be completed near the end of this calendar year (1996). Unlike the WWCC, which will likely be closed during off-school hours, the Armory may allow use of the facilities on some evenings and weekends.

It seems as though the real need is for some distinct programs rather than for a separate facility for Hispanics. Since 48.3 percent of Roseville residents are Hispanics, area programs should provide a substantial focus on Hispanics. (Another particular group on which local programs should focus is young people, in light of the survey findings and other indicators.) HDC should advocate and institute programs (in the WWCC and/or Armory) that are particularly significant to Hispanics. HDC could serve as a resource to inform these programs. At the same time, HDC and other organizations should try to be as inclusive as possible in their programming.

A substantial benefit to using space within the WWCC and/or Armory building, rather than constructing another facility, is that funds otherwise spent on facility construction could be used for equipment and programming. A physical facility can be relatively flexible in terms of serving many purposes and programs. Through advocacy and securing of programs, HDC could effectively stake a claim to part of these other facilities. Construction of another facility might be justified later if it can be shown that it will serve a special and non-duplicative purpose. For example, an information/referral center (see discussion at end of final recommendations section) or a recreational center are facilities that could justify funds being spent on construction of a new facility.

Community input should be an integral part of program determination for local facilities, including the WWCC. Community input can ensure that programs are consistent with the needs of local residents. This can improve program utilization and encourage volunteerism, which in turn can substantially impact the success of a Center. The survey results are very pertinent in this regard since a direct question was asked concerning the programs that residents would like to see held in a community center. Computer classes, job skills training, and after-school programs received the greatest response; responses to ESL, GED, and family counseling were also strong; programs for the elderly and recreation also received high responses. Respondents also indicated the need for a healthcare facility through a separate survey question.

Both the West Ward Cultural Center and the Armory facilities have potential to support greater opportunities for services that meet local needs. The facilities could be used to provide programs which are geared toward Hispanics as well as to the Roseville community as a whole. While the options are still very limited in terms of indoor recreational facilities, the Armory gymnasium will soon provide some new recreational opportunities. The Armory's relatively flexible hours make it a particularly attractive community space.

Recreational/Greening Space

One visit to the neighborhood was sufficient to make clear to the researchers that outdoor recreational facilities are also lacking in the Roseville area. Vacant lots, with few exceptions, were too debris-strewn and hazardous for play. Children were playing mainly on sidewalks. Heavy traffic is common on several of the neighborhood's main streets, but many of these streets also serve as play areas. Some young children said that there was "no place for them to play" in the neighborhood.

A "park or playground" received nearly the same survey response as a community center for facilities that residents would like to see locate in their neighborhood. Respondents were each given two choices. A "park or playground" received a 49.5 percent response, while "community center" received a 51.5 percent response.

Branchbrook Park is only a few blocks from the study area; however, according to HDC's director, park policy does not give local residents priority use of ball fields. A baseball field close to the study area is often unavailable to Roseville residents. Another local outdoor recreational facility is the Newark City Stadium, which at first glance seems (with its large track and field) to hold additional outdoor opportunities. However, the Newark Board of Education stated that the facility is nearly always in use and is limited to school-sponsored activities.

According to Newark's Department of Development, the city at this time has no near-term plans for construction of any recreational facilities, either indoor or outdoor, in the Roseville area. An increase in recreational opportunities can be created, however, through: a) improvements in existing facilities; and b) increased access to these facilities. Branchbrook Park is one local resource that could offer greater recreational opportunities. The park is within easy walking distance of the study area. If transportation is available, there is access to many facilities within the park's 360 acres. Residents could advocate for a policy change that allows them better access to ball fields and other facilities. They could also advocate for improved maintenance where necessary (the park's curator is the Essex County Department of Parks and Recreation).

Other outdoor improvements are already underway in Roseville. Two city-owned vacant lots, and one owned by New Jersey Transit (NJT), are being transformed into "community gardens" through projects supported by HDC and the Greater Newark Conservancy (GNC). HDC is leasing city-owned lots for $1 /year for garden space at the corner of 9th St. & 6th Ave., and on 4th St. between 6th and 7th Ave. Area residents cleaned the lot last November and will soon be planting wildflowers, grasses, and a small vegetable garden with GNC's assistance. Children have been involved in making birdhouses for the 9th St. garden. The 4th St. site has a vegetable garden already in progress. Work on the NJT garden project (which is planned for the corner of Roseville Ave. & 7th St.) will begin once substantial progress has been made on the 9th St. garden.

Other lot improvements could include the creation of "tot lots," i.e. playground areas for small children. City-owned land seems to hold particularly good potential for this type of improvement. (See Map 4 for city-owned properties in the area.) Parents could assist with the construction of these tot lots. These types of improvements are relatively inexpensive to undertake, yet can provide substantial benefits to a community.

New construction and upgrading of physical sites and facilities can be essential to providing adequate accommodations for job skills training, neighborhood meetings, recreational programs, and other important human and economic development activities and the like. Through a combination of hard work and advocacy, Roseville can continue to bring about significant physical improvements. Physical improvements can provide many other benefits in addition to serving their primary intended purposes. Community gardens help to beautify the neighborhood. They may also provide supplemental food for local residents and food-assistance programs. Affordable housing and a community center are tangible evidence that a community is embarking on a path of development, encouraging people to believe that (further) positive change is possible. Neighborhood cleanup programs, the creation of tot lots, and advocacy of better park maintenance can all be "community-building" activities. The results of these activities can include the intangible rewards of renewed pride and a sense of accomplishment.


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