This chapter provides an overview of the program client survey that HousingForward Virginia designed and the Virginia Housing Alliance deployed. The survey intended to collect direct feedback on current housing programs from users who have applied for and/or received assistance through these initiatives.
At the recommendation of the SAG, HousingForward sought feedback from individuals who may have received assistance from state housing programs to provide additional context for the effectiveness of programs. Virginia Housing Alliance, HousingForward Virginia, and other partners developed and distributed an online survey from May to June 2021.
The survey received 1,313 completed responses, but was compromised by the interference of an automated software program or “bot.” The survey partners determined from repetitive responses, suspicious email addresses, and random country IP addresses that 93 percent of the responses were not valid, leaving 91 legitimate responses. Fifteen service and/or housing providers, identified by their email addresses, had taken the survey, further limiting analysis of the results.
The survey was also limited by a low response rate despite a financial incentive and availability of Spanish language and hard copy versions. It also could not incorporate verification that respondents had received housing assistance from a state program.
The HB854 client survey sample size is too small to fairly represent the number of individuals that receive housing assistance from state agencies. The client survey outcome and the barriers to its effective implementation demonstrate a need for well-planned and on-going communication between the Commonwealth and housing assistance recipients whose experiences and input would inform regular program adjustments to best meet the needs of target populations.
Recommendations for sustained engagement are included in Chapter 30.