Northland News

Beaumont neighborhood

Survey to be finished by mid-November


Just finding out what residents of the Beaumont neighborhood feel they face in terms of problems isn't automatically going to provide the services to solve them.

Failing to ask the questions will, according to Sandy LaFollette.

She is the manager of an effort to conduct an in-depth survey of every sixth resident in the neighborhood south and east of Northland Village, the site of the former Northland Mall now undergoing major redevelopment.

"We don't know what they're missing," LaFollette said last week in providing an update during the sixth in a series of gatherings for nonprofit agencies providing services to the Northland area.

Convened under the auspices of the Northland Alliance, the Nonprofit Summits are aimed at identifying gaps in service, preventing duplication and forming alliances among nonprofit organizations with limited resources. Participants have identified the Beaumont area as an ideal location to see how concerted efforts might make a difference.

Once a single-family subdivision in the late 1950s, the neighborhood has since undergone major changes with the addition of large-scale apartment complexes that increasingly draw immigrant and refugee populations as tenants.

The goal of the survey, which was developed by officials at Ohio State University, is to find out where a sampling of residents are from and learn what issues are important to them relating to housing, jobs, education, personal safety and more, LaFollette said last week.

"We're going to talk to them about family, school, church, drug and alcohol use," she said. "It's a major, major project."

Survey participants will be rewarded with $10 Kroger gift cards.

About 5,000 people currently call the Beaumont neighborhood home, according to Northland Alliance chairwoman Joyce Bourgault.

LaFollette estimated that at least a third of those contacted about the survey will be refugees or immigrants from various African nations, Nepal, Somalia and Latin America.

"What we want to do is give them the best service we can while they're here, give them a positive experience," she added. "We can't guarantee that we'll bring in services. We're not promising a better life. What we're promising is an awareness to help them.

"If we have a gap in coverage ... that's something we need to share."

The survey, being conducted by volunteers with the help of interpreters, should be completed by the middle of November, according to LaFollette. OSU officials will interpret the data collected. The survey will remain the property of the university.

"The results of the survey will be made public," LaFollette said.