Human Services/Service Learning Needs assessment
This compilation of information about the three cities in the Gavilan College district is one piece of my sabbatical 2007 project for Gavilan College’s social science department. In order to forecast what kinds of academic Service Learning experiences will prepare students for their future lives, and for life in communities we serve, I have collected information about general socio-demographic trends in the US, and about each community’s socio-economic challenges and needs.
This is highly selective data, emphasizing challenges and needs rather than assets and successes, because of the nature of my project to identify and address community needs. Service learning has three components: community benefit, civic engagement (of students and faculty), and application of academic skills, concepts, and techniques in real-life situations (by students and faculty). This assessment does not pretend to be comprehensive, objective, or complete. It is a rough snapshot of some important community needs at this time, gathered to inform departmental decision-making about agency partnerships. Also, although some quantitative data is woven in, most of the information was collected anecdotally from human services providers in the community. It should be considered a starting point for dialogue rather than a last word.
–Leah Halper, January 2014
- General demographic trends that will affect most US communities in coming years:
- Demographic transition to low birth and low death rates in US virtually complete: we are bigger, older, and more diverse than ever before.
- Baby boomers will live longer and demand more products, services, and activity in retirement. The elder population is more ethnically and economically diverse than ever before, with more needs for human services than ever before, especially for chronic and dementia-related diseases and especially in suburbs. A redistribution of resources to benefit elders will possibly drain resources from children and young people. And the a dependency ratioä of non-working elders to workers will strain workers of future generations to generate revenues for benefits.
- The recession of 2008 has displaced millions of workers, and for the first time in more than fifty years, the official unemployment rate is over 11 percent in California. This will have longterm job market effects, with a ãjobless recoveryä shutting out millions of workers, skilled and unskilled, for years. Rates of poverty and homelessness are rising steadily in 2009; median household income and net worth are falling. There are high rates of foreclosures, vacancies, and new garage business start-ups.
Women, who live longer, will enter retirement with fewer resources, which makes poverty a key issue for the population of aging females (as well as for single parents and immigrants.)
Retirees will seek meaningful civic engagement projects. Civil engagement is on a long-time decline for all other age groups.
Many Americans will continue a long-time transition from participant/citizen to observer/consumer status with consequent loss of social capital, increased health, social, and civic challenges. Others will seek alternative social structures such as co-housing or sustainability projects as means to re-establish or strengthen social capital.
Continued growth in urban centers and rural depopulation will require better urban planning, including greener building and infill. There may be more households, fewer people in them
Immigration reform of some kind will probably provide a legal pathway to citizenship for some, not all, immigrant workers. The US will follow California as a ãno majorityä society.
Manufacturing and industry will continue to decline, while service and information industries will grow. Outsourcing will affect most industries, including higher education and health care.
Young people, even those with college educations, will have more trouble than past generations finding jobs; older workers will also find it difficult to compete with workers in 20s-40s. Jobs will be globalized and require more cultural, social, and team skills.
425,000 veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars already treated by the VA will join 24 million older veterans (including 1.5 million since 2002) in needing a variety of services, training, and support.
Some kind of single-payer health insurance will likely cover most Americans in coming years. The incidence of diabetes and other diseases costly to treat will continue to increase. Half of US citizens will develop a mental illness, many beginning in childhood or adolescence. There are significant gaps in access to, use of, and benefit from health care among ethnic and class groups.
Health issues once limited to adults are becoming common among children, adolescents, and young adults. Americans struggle with obesity and its risks; environmental illnesses are increasing
There will be continuing high rates of international migration with consequent needs for long distance communication, financial, and transportation services
Global warming will continue with huge human and ecological impacts, changing climate and resource maps; it will also make huge social and cultural changes as we grapple with consequences of the vast extinction of animals and plants due to habitat loss, pollution, climate change
Young Americans have far less direct experience of nature than previous generations, and far higher rates of disinterest in, and fear of, nature.
Relatively little alternative fuel research done in recent decades in the US, combined with the reality of peak oil, will force the nation, its government, and corporations, to rapidly implement alternatives to fossil fuels that serve immediate needs, whether or not those are sustainable.
Water shortages and scarcities within the US and around the hemisphere and globe will impact US citizens and spark resource conflicts as well as additional immigration. The US will be further integrated into a booming global remittances economy factors common to the Gavilan District cities: Gilroy, Hollister, Morgan Hill: Bedroom development has brought many newcomers in past fifteen years. Many working residents have commutes of 30 minutes or more
Commuters often spend grocery and other funds, and make charitable donations, outside their own communities. Commuters do not often engage in local shopping, volunteerism, entertainment, or civic participation due to time limitations, lack of knowledge about community activities or resources, negative perceptions of community, and/or lack of connection to or identification with community--10 minutes of commute time has been shown to cut civic participation by 10 percent
As the communities have transitioned away from agriculture and towards retail, construction, and other industries, economic development in the three cities has often focused upon retail, been relatively unsuccessful, or simply not been undertaken.
All three communities are relatively under-technologized given their proximity to Silicon Valley.
Human service providers in all three communities often function without good data about client populations, and seldom can afford to do follow-up with those served. There is dissatisfaction with federal census data and county statistics due to the scarcity of zip-code specific human needs data.
Small businesses struggle to compete with big box stores, the Internet, and commutersâ on-the-fly purchasing elsewhere, and have a number of unmet needs. Proximity to Silicon Valley has generally not attracted economic development in electronics industries to these cities
Housing costs are high; people born in these communities are often priced out. Housing costs outstrip average income levels in all three cities.Cost of living is relatively high. To be self sufficient in Santa Clara County, a single parent needs to make at least $22 per hour, according to county advocacy groups
Each community is growing more ethnically diverse. Each community has both visible and invisible immigrant populations.
The Mexican immigrant and Mexican-American populations are diverse and complex. There are long-time acculturated families rooted here; there are newly-arrived families putting down roots; there are stable migrant families that return annually to Mexico; there are migrant workers who move between our area, the Valley, and Mexico annually; there are indigenous workers who speak Mixtec and other languages and who stay in culturally compatible groups as much as possible; there are emancipated youth who come to work. Each population may overlap with others but has some distinct needs.
In each community, there are significant gaps (in income, language, lifestyle, education, and opportunities) between immigrant populations and the longer-established residents they often serve. In each community, few or no organizations, activities, or methods directly bridge or address the gaps described above
Because rural areas are easily accessible in the district and demand is high locally and throughout the state, production of crystal meth and marijuana are common, and many young people are involved in its consumption.
Each community has a gang problem, and often gang members take refuge in one of the other communities, suggesting a need for agency collaboration
There is high demand for human services, and high unmet demand, particularly among the most vulnerable populations--youth, people seeking treatment for substance abuse, seniors, single parents, and people with disabilitiesThere is unmet demand for Spanish-speaking and indigenous language-speaking (such as Mixtec) service providers in all three communities
Hate incidents are not routinely collected and reported by local law enforcement agencies
Youth are affected by zero tolerance for colors policies at all three high schools, and by the tendency of high schools to turn discipline problems over to local law enforcement rather than dealing with them in-house. There are high rates of teen pregnancy.
The three cities perceive themselves as very different from one another, and generally government agencies, non-profits, and individuals do not collaborate across city boundaries despite shared concerns. Inconvenient distances, and difficulties translating services to different city cultures, may account for part of this isolation.
- Population in zip 95020 (which extends beyond actual city limits) is 57,256 in 2007. Density is 373 people per square mile (Zip Code 95020 People)
- Median age is 32.4, younger than the US median of 37.6. 52.57% of people in Gilroy are married. 8.10% are divorced. The average household size is 3.48 people. About 46 percent report living with children (Zip Code 95020 People).
- Census categories obscure the issue somewhat, but 2000 data reports that 60.12% of people in this zip code are “white”, 1.88% are African-American, 5.08% are Asian, 1.61% are Native American, and 31.94% claim 'Other'. Another measure is that 53.16% claim Hispanic ethnicity, meaning 46.84% are non-Hispanic (Zip Code 95020 People).
- Median income is $72,499 (Zip Code 95020 Economy). This masks the reality that expenses are high, incomes are dropping, and there is a bigger gap between rich and poor, with the middle thinning out. “In the county, real median household income dropped 11 percent from 2000 to 2005 - a $9,011 decline, according to Working Partnerships, a San Jose nonprofit aimed at narrowing the gap between rich and poor. Today, roughly 20 percent of area workers earn less than $12.27 an hour, the San Jose living wage as of July 2006. Poverty has risen, and the middle class is thinning while more and more workers earn less than $10,000 a year” (Getting By).
Occupations are as follows:
Management, Business, and Financial Operations 14.47%
Professional and Related Occupations 15.52%
Sales and Office 27.24%
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry 3.50%
Construction, Extraction, and Maintenance 10.65%
Production, Transportation, and Material Moving 14.65%
(Zip Code 95020 Economy.)
- In 2007, the unemployment rate is 4.40 (Zip Code Economy). “Job availability has dropped 15.4 percent countywide from 2000 to 2005, according to Working Partnerships. Manufacturing and business services have declined 30 percent, and electrical assembly jobs, which paid a median hourly wage of $12.86, dropped 70 percent (Getting By ). Retail salespersons are common in Gilroy due to the Outlets and big box stores, and the median hourly wage for such jobs in the county is $10.73,. (Getting By)
- The average cost of childcare has risen 40 percent from 2000 to 2005 in the county. “Parents who earn minimum wage can't pay someone else minimum wage to watch their children” (Getting By). Parents earning minimum wage can easily spend all their funds on housing plus childcare. Many women find it is more viable to stay home than to work (Our work).
- Housing options are costly and limited. Strategies include overpayment, overcrowding, acceptance of substandard housing, relocation to less costly areas and simply paying more in transportation costs (Getting By). Renters constitute 36.2 percent of population that is counted (Zip Code 95020 Housing). There are at least six migrant worker camps run by private parties for profit; the biggest, Campo Rodriguez, is open year-round and abuts the Ochoa Migrant Housing Center.
- There are few environmental groups active in Gilroy, and data is lacking. We do know that Gilroy’s air quality is significantly worse than the national average. On a scale of 100, with a high score associated with good quality, Gilroy’s air scored a very low 9, compared to 48 as the national average in 2007. Water quality was somewhat better, though not excellent, with a score of 40 compared to the national average of 55. Gilroy is also relatively close to a number of Silicon Valley Superfund sites, giving it a low score of 10 on the Superfund scale, compared to 71, the national average. (Zip Code 95020 Health)
- In Gilroy, 43.25% of the people affiliate with a religion. 28.71% are Catholic; 6.51% are Protestant; 1.21% are LDS; 2.40% are another Christian faith; 3.21% in Gilroy are Jewish; 0.07% are an eastern faith; 1.14% affiliate with Islam (Zip Code 95020 Religion).
- There are 148 non profits registered with the state attorney general’s office. (Non profit.) There is a relatively high rate of volunteerism, especially seasonally for the winter holidays and the Garlic Festival, and through churches.
- The city has a relatively high rate of violent crime, compared to the US average. On a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, Gilroy ranks as a 4 in terms of murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The US average is 3. Property crime in Gilroy is even more prevalent: on the same scale, Gilroy ranks as a 5. Property crime includes burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. Again, the US average is 3 (Zip Code 95020 Crime).
- Assets: Strong faith community with volunteer power when tasks are presented; high pride of place; attractive location and climate; Garlic Festival, unusual Gilroy Gardens theme park; participation in excellent Santa Clara County Library system.
Challenges and needs:
- Accurate data about who’s here and what needs are isn’t easy to put together for funders or others. More local data is needed and more county data should be collected and analysed by zip code. A group within the South County Collaborative is organizing to address this need.
- Gilroy usually has the highest negative risk indicators in the county—highest rate of homelessness, lowest median income, most reports of child abuse, second highest rate of domestic violence (Morgan Hill rate is higher), schools lowest achieving in county, highest rate of juvenile offenders violating their probation agreements because of a lack of services, most recividism, least substance abuse treatment for youth.
- A number of county services to Gilroy, such as public health nursing, have been cut or eliminated. Non-profits struggle to provide services and have no opportunity to do long-range planning, development, or follow-up with clients.
- Vestiges of agricultural heritage remain, but Silicon Valley has not really technologised the community. While Gilroy is a bedroom for Silicon Valley, many bedroom migrants are not connected to community.
- There are too few high paying jobs; the local Office of Economic Development focuses on retail jobs, which are the #1 employment sector in Santa Clara county.
- Even “affordable” housing is not very affordable; heavy subsidies needed for poorest families reliant on public benefits. Much shared housing that is substandard and crowded. Immigrants in particular are vulnerable to exploitative arrangements and do not have access to information about their rights, or to legal aid.
- There is no shelter for single individuals year round, but a surprisingly high number of homeless people. “In 2005, the numbers volunteers tallied stunned county officials, even those who work with the homeless. The 2005 count turned up 7,646 homeless people countywide, 420 of them in Gilroy - more than in cities twice and even triple Gilroy's size. One-third of those surveyed were chronically homeless, lacking shelter for more than a year, or more than four times in less than three years.” (Alpert.)
- Public transportation cuts have made that a difficult option for South County residents. Many elderly and poor people depend on costly taxi service.
- There is a great need for more Spanish- and indigenous-speaking service providers
- High demand for food aid. 1800 people served monthly with nutritional supplemental food, 10,000 bagged lunches a year, 10,000 hot meals including on holidays each year for homeless, unhoused individuals and very low-income members; 2,700 hot meals to seniors with limited incomes, serves 50 seniors with weekly shuttle.
- Ethnic divides exists in the community.
- Literacy needs of immigrant and native-born populations are diverse and significant.
- Hate incidents and crimes may go unreported or under-reported. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth are at particularly high risk. GLTB people are often closeted in Gilroy though they may be out at schools or jobs elsewhere.
- Basic health needs are not met for people in the community. Local services are not comprehensive enough, and may be too costly for those who need them. HIV/AIDS mobile units have trouble establishing services here because of stigma and invisibility. Obesity rates are reportedly the highest in county, at 31 percent.
- There is a big need for mental health services. Mental health and behavioral issues of children in school are particularly underaddressed. “An estimated 10 percent of Gilroy students need counseling for various mental and emotional health issues, said Eleanor Villarreal, director of funding and development for Rebekah Children’s Services. Those students will be referred by Rebekah’s health center housed on the Eliot Elementary School campus as well as counselors elsewhere in the school district. “(Leins.)
- Gilroy schools expend $4,666 per student, lower than the California average of $7942 in 2005 (State of). Schools don’t score well on standardized tests compared to statewide rates. There are plans for a second high school. Elementary schools are under-enrolled and one has recently closed
- Students report differential treatment based on ethnicity in schools( Community).
- There are not enough attractive after-school identity-building and activity youth programs. Sports programs at the schools require family expenditures that many families cannot afford.
- The gang problem is treated after the fact rather than preventatively in the police department; schools crack down on colors but sometimes punish the wrong students and create a negative learning environment in their quest for safety.
- Graffiti on buildings is commonly mentioned by residents as a neighborhood problem.
- Meth use is high in 19-25 year old population.
- Gilroy has the most teen pregnancies in the county. Pregnancies are seen as Latina problem because live births, rather than total pregnancies (some may be terminated) are counted.
- A social host ordinance exists but is not yet well known or enforced.
- Mainstream and fundamentalist faith communities each have their own ecclesiastical councils, which don’t collaborate with one another; there is a clear division in the religious community between mainstream and fundamentalist congregations.
- Gilroy has both a Chamber of Commerce and, due to a legacy of historical divisions, a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.
- Little coordination with Morgan Hill and San Benito county on transportation, data collection, or other needs
- Spanish language media are needed to reach many people in need of information.
- Morgan Hill
- The population in 2007 is 43,700. Population density is 180 people per square . Median age is 36.7. (The US median is 37.6.) The average household size is 3.06 people. 58.55% of people in Morgan Hill are married. 9.68% are divorced. About 43.5% of households include children (Zip Code 95037 People).
- Using Census data, 70.30% of people are “white,” 1.61% are African-American, 7.39% are Asian, 1.11% are Native American, and 19.25% claim 'Other'. Another measure is that 27.52% claim Hispanic ethnicity, while 72.48% are non-Hispanic) (Zip Code 95037 People).
- Median household income is $99,207. Unemployment rate is 4.4 %. Occupations are as follows:
Management, Business, and Financial Operations 21.24%
Professional and Related Occupations 22.64%
Sales and Office 24.84%
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry 2.08%
Construction, Extraction, and Maintenance 9.05%
Production, Transportation, and Material Moving 7.97%
(Zip Code 95037 Economy Data)
- The median home value in Morgan Hill, is $879,000. Renters make up 26.66% of the Morgan Hill population. (Zip Code 95037 Economy Data)
- The average one-way commute in Morgan Hill ((Zip Code 95037 Transportation Data), CA, takes 38 minutes.
- Overall, Morgan Hill (Zip Code 95037 Cost of Living Data), CA cost of living is 175. The average cost of living is indexed to 100, which means Morgan Hill is considerably more expensive to live in than the average US city.
- Air quality in Morgan Hill, similar to Gilroy’s, is 9 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). This is based on ozone alert days and number of pollutants in the air, as reported by the EPA. Water quality is 40 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). The EPA has a complex method of measuring watershed quality using 15 indicators. Superfund index is 10 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). This is upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts (Zip Code 95037 Health Data).
- About 43% of the population is religious: 28.71% are Catholic; 6.51% are Protestant; 1.21% are LDS; 2.40% are another Christian faith; 3.21% are Jewish; 0.07% are an eastern faith; 1.14% affiliate with Islam (Zip Code 95037 Religion Data).
- There are 119 non profits, many recreation or arts-related (Non-profit).
- Morgan ‘s violent crime rate, on a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, is 3. Violent crime includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The US average is 3. Property crime, on a scale from 1 (low) to 10, is 4. Property crime includes the offenses of burglary, larceny-theft, motor vehicle theft, and arson. The US average is 3 (Zip Code 95037 Crime Data).
- Assets: New library, new community swimming center, new sports complex. Poppy Jaspar Film Festival, Mushroom Mardi Gras, July 4 parade, and Taste of Morgan Hill bring people into the community.
Challenges and needs:
- Affluence exists alongside pickets of visible, semi-visible, and invisible underserved people. There is a marked income gap.
- Human needs are often less visible because the community’s self image is of wealthy, educated residents. Many county resources go to Gilroy because Morgan Hill is perceived as not needing them.
- Fewer agencies serve Morgan Hill than other cities in the county, and many that do exist don’t deal with human services so much as issues such as creating dog parks or supporting Coe State Park. Agencies such as the American Red Cross and Center for Living with Dying have had to close their offices in town due to costs. A new city-owned building will attract some San Jose non-profits in 2008.
- Existing nonprofits are often single-issue and rarely collaborate.
- Bedroom issues make it hard for non-profits to survive in Morgan Hill. People live in the community but don’t know about or support local work.
- Isolation of low income groups—low income housing is clustered in a few places.
- Small numbers of immigrants from many countries tend to be isolated in the area. There are not enough bilingual services.
- There is a considerable ethnic divide in Morgan Hill.
- The rate of domestic violence in Morgan Hill is the highest reported in the county.
- Morgan Hill schools expend $4,781 per student. The state average is around $7,800 this year. Quality of education, while high compared to that in Gilroy, does not meet expectations of bedroom arrivals, who have created opportunities for private and charter schools but to the detriment of public schools
- There is no hospital in town since the closure of the community’s hospital
- There are not enough bilingual services.
- Hate incidents and crimes may go unreported or under-reported. Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered youth are at particularly high risk, though a case brought by several Live Oak High School students in the 1990s established a school district’s obligation to take action to protect students being harassed for sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation. Despite mandatory training for students and teachings, students report that problems persist in the school system.
- Small businesses are concerned about the city’s recent incentives to big box store and by shoppers’ choices to go there and elsewhere outside the city. Other big box stores refuse to locate in Morgan Hill because of overlap with South San Jose and Gilroy stores.
- People generally go north for the arts. Downtown Association has addressed some aesthetic needs and parking issues but there is much to do still.
- There is a lack of “connective tissue” for various groups in community, little community feeling or participation among many people, most of whom don’t read the local paper.
- Mixed use projects downtown could address housing availability gaps and bring more people downtown.
- The population of Hollister in 2007 is 49,589. There are 83 people per square mile, a relatively low population density (Zip Code 95023 People Data)
- Median age is 31.8, younger than the US median of 37.6. In Hollister 58.18% of people are married. 8.79% are divorced. The average household size is 3.36 people. About 48% have children living with them. (Zip Code 95023 People Data).
- The Census Bureau reports that 63.15% of people are “white,” 0.94% are African-American, 2.79% are Asian, 1.15% are Native American, and 31.74% claim “Other.” Fully 52.12% of the people claim Hispanic ethnicity, meaning 47.88% are non-Hispanic . (Zip Code 95023 People Data).
- Median household income is $68,041. Occupations are:
Management, Business, and Financial Operations 13.50%
Professional and Related Occupations 17.48%
Sales and Office 25.57%
Farming, Fishing, and Forestry 3.44%
Construction, Extraction, and Maintenance 11.83%
Production, Transportation, and Material Moving 13.27%
(Zip Code 95023 Economy Data).
- The unemployment rate is 6.4 percent (Zip Code 95023 Economy Data).
- Median home value in Hollister is $575,000. Renters make up 29.56% of the population (Zip Code 95023 Economy Data).
- Air quality is 59 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). This is based on ozone alert days and number of pollutants in the air, as reported by the EPA. Water quality in Hollister is 20 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). The EPA has a complex method of measuring watershed quality using 15 indicators. Superfund index is 100 on a scale to 100 (higher is better). This is based upon the number and impact of EPA Superfund pollution sites in the county, including spending on the cleanup efforts . (Zip Code 95023 Health Data).
- Hollister violent crime, on a scale from 1 (low crime) to 10, ranks 4. Violent crime includes: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. The US average is 3. Hollister property crime, on a scale from 1 (low) to 10, is 3. The US average is 3 (Zip Code 95023 Crime Data).
- Cost of living indices are based on a US average of 100. An amount above 100 means Hollister is more costly than the US average. Hollister cost of living is 137.11 (Zip Code 95023 Cost of Living Data).
- Census data show that 69.17% of the people in Hollister are religious, meaning they affiliate with a religion. 62.19% are Catholic; 4.29% are Protestant; 1.93% are LDS; 0.68% are another Christian faith; 0.00% in Hollister are Jewish; 0.08% are an Eastern faith; 0.00% affiliate with Islam (Zip Code 95023 Religion Data).
- Major employers are the hospital, school district, a chocolate factory, a boat factory, farm and ranches, construction. There’s a high degree of civic involvement and lots of church organization (Zip Code 95023 Economy Data). Commuters travel an average 36 minutes, with many heading to Silicon Valley and spending more than average in their cars. (Zip Code 95023 Transportation Data).
- Community Foundation, an umbrella group for non-profits in the county, works with major donors and provides non-profit status and services to organizations. There are 121 non profits in the city (Non-profit).
- Assets: Strong sense of pride and participatory ethic among long-time residents; agricultural heritage that continues to animate many activities and the identity of the community; Pinnacles National Monument and generally beautiful open space areas; innovative economic ventures such as tourism, wine-making and organic farming; housing is less expensive than in surrounding areas; potential for strong redevelopment project; strong non-profits, service organizations, and faith community.
Challenges and needs:
- A sustainable local economy must be developed, with industry and jobs. There is little economic development being undertaken in the county, which will as a result not grow its economy in ways that raise the standard of living.
- Downtown is not a hub for shopping, entertainment, or activity. There is considerable leakage to Gilroy, Salinas, and elsewhere for shopping of all kinds. Local retailers find it difficult to compete pricewise.
- Service industry does not have a trained workforce; hospitality industry training and local small business management are real training needs.
- Anchor stores have left downtown, so the downtown doesn’t draw foot traffic as merchants would like. Highway 25 through downtown creates hazards for pedestrians, who often choose to shop out of town.
- Salaries are low in most sectors, so it’s hard to attract and keep qualified professionals. High housing costs are an added disincentive.
- Sewage and water moratoria are limiting new building, so home prices are high. Even before the current crisis, there was an unusually high rate of mortgage foreclosure in the county.
- Housing segregation is marked, and low income pockets exist on the west side and the northeastern section of town, as well as in the Veterans Park and R.O. Hardin School areas.
- There are trailer parks, homeless encampments, private labor camps and a county labor camp. Getting census data on these populations is difficult.
- A homeless Task Fore shelter operates late November-March, but emergency housing is needed year round, and transitional housing for families and singles is simply not available in San Benito County.
- Demographic data on human needs is hard to obtain.
- Poverty levels are relatively high, and more than half of the school children in the county qualify for school lunch programs.
- Hunger is increasing among seniors, migrants, and others. Demand at the Community Pantry is up by one-third this year.
- Shifting populations of strawberry and other agricultural workers create needs that are hard to service; more migrant workers are staying in US rather than risking annual border crossings to go home.
- Issues common to migrant populations affect Hollister’s: invisibility due to fear, lack of participation due to invisibility and fear.
- Hollister schools spend $4,540 per student. The state average is about $7,800 this year.
- Drop-out rate is reportedly higher at SBHS than the 8-10 percent officially claimed, due to undercounting. Hispanic dropout rate is alarming—perhaps at 30 percent.
- There is a need for a second high school and stable administration in the school district.
- There is a need for vocational and transfer programs at the Gavilan site. Small Business Development Center’s closure was a real loss for Hollister, though a Hartnell representative comes to meet with business owners periodically.
- Diabetes and obesity are major problems.
- Mental health services are lacking, though the county provides some. There is no residential psych unit and often people needing services must go to Santa Cruz or elsewhere.
- Services are needed for Oaxacan immigrants who do not speak Spanish at all or whose Spanish is a second language.
- The county has a fantastic resource in Pinnacles National Monument, but it is underutilized by locals, especially by the Hispanic population.
- Homeowners with Silicon Valley jobs don’t get involved in or informed about the community. Most clubs and many churches draw the bulk of their membership from long-time residents rather than newcomers.
- Pesticide use is a hidden health issue.
- Aged infrastructure will require significant investments county-wide.
- Gangs are active, and there have been more drive-by shootings in 2007 than ever.
- Meth is made in the county, especially in rural meth labs, creating a problem for law enforcement. Meth use is a major issue for youth.
- Police and fire services are underfunded; the fire department would have trouble handling more than one emergency at a time.
- Civic debate is often acrimonious, with candidates and other public figures engaging in venomous accusations, frequent attacks, even lawsuits; there is a need for better ethical standards in political work.
- Emergency food aid, especially for proteins, is stretched to fill need. There is growing hunger among Anglos, seniors, working poor and those without adequate house; there is a need for culturally appropriate nutritional information, community gardening.
- Library needs a bookmobile to better serve entire county
Conclusions and recommendations:
All three communities face significant challenges and have needs that could be served by agency participation in service learning programs. The benefits to students, faculty, agencies, clients served, and the college are all well documented. Though some challenges exist in getting a program up and going, the commitment of faculty and support from the college are strong. A few faculty will pilot service learning in spring to identify kinks and build some successes. Grant funding should be sought to support a fall 2008 launch of service learning in several classes in the department, with a spring 2008 training for interested faculty from all academic departments. An advisory board should become active in decision-making about the program. The college should work towards offering service opportunities throughout the curriculum.
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Putnam, Robert and Lewis Feldstein. Better Together: Restoring the American Community. 2003. New York: Simon & Schuster.
"San Benito County, California." US Census Bureau. 6 January 2014. Web. 16 January 2014.
"Santa Clara County Violence Profile 2012." Santa Clara County Public Health Department. Santa Clara County website. 2013. Web. 1
“State of the Schools 2007” Contra Costa County Office of Education Jan 2007 http://18.104.22.168/search?q=cache:jAujLE9Y-ioJ:www.cccoe.k12.ca.us/supe/SOS_07/SOSJan07.pdf+per+capita+expenditure+California+schools+2005&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=5&gl=us&client=safari
“Zip Code 95020 Gilroy, Crime data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95020_Gilroy_CA-CRIME-79502000050.aspx
“Zip Code 95020 Gilroy, Economy data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Gilroy_CA-79502000021.aspx
“Zip Code 95020 Gilroy, Health data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95020_Gilroy_CA-HEALTH-79502000040.aspx
“Zip Code 95020 Gilroy, Housing data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95020_Gilroy_CA-HOUSING-79502000030.aspx
“Zip Code 95020 Gilroy, People data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95020_Gilroy_CA-PEOPLE-79502000010.aspx
“Zip Code 95020 Gilroy, Religion data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95020_Gilroy_CA-RELIGION-79502000100.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, Cost of Living data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-COSTLIV-79503700090.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, Crime data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-CRIME-79503700050.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, Health data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-HEALTH-79503700040.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, Housing data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-HOUSING-79503700030.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, People data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-PEOPLE-79503700010.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, Religion data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-RELIGION-79503700100.aspx
“Zip Code 95037 Morgan Hill, Transportation data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95037_Morgan_Hill_CA-TRANSPORT-79503700080.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister, Cost of Living data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-COSTLIV-79502300090.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister, Crime data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-CRIME-79502300050.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister , Health data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-HEALTH-79502300040.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister, Housing data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-HOUSING-79502300030.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister, People data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-PEOPLE-79502300010.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister, Religion data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-RELIGION-79502300100.aspx
“Zip Code 95023 Hollister, Transportation data.” Sperling’s Best Places. October 2007 http://www.bestplaces.net/zip-code/Zip_Code_95023_Hollister_CA-TRANSPORT-79502300080.aspx