Social services include, but are not limited to, programs for drug addiction, alcoholism, and mental health; halfway houses and drop-in centers; family counseling centers; daycare centers; services for senior citizens and persons with disabilities; nutrition centers; Meals on Wheels; income maintenance; manpower programs; and cooling centers in areas prone to severe heat risk. Governmental social service agencies or public or private groups typically provide these services.
Social services must cater and be easily accessible to those who need them. Therefore, access and adequacy are important considerations.
When assessing a proposed project’s impact on an area’s social services, consider the availability and accessibility of daycare, elderly centers, and neighborhood centers to accommodate existing and future residents.
If appropriate social services centers are not located within reasonable proximity to the proposed development, consider developing alternate spaces and services to accommodate new residents/users.
- Are the social services located onsite or within a convenient and reasonable distance to residents of the proposed project? Or, is adequate public transportation available from the project to these services?
- Will the proposed project overtax or negatively impact social services?
- Will the provision of additional social services at this site create a concentration of the disadvantaged in violation of HUD site and neighborhood standards?
Determine the specific types of required services by examining relevant data regarding the social service needs of the new residents/users (e.g., income level, age, and number of children and teens per household). Determine if existing services are adequate to meet the new and increased demand through discussions with local health and human services organizations, public assistance offices, and local youth services offices.
Determine the location of existing social services and their distances from the proposed project. Find out whether public transportation is available between the needed services and the project site and how long the commute is.
Determine whether new residents or users will overburden existing services and facilities. What provisions could be made to expand services or facilities?
Consider the following possible mitigation measures:
- Special transportation services, especially for the elderly and children
- Potential cooperative funding for added social services
- Provisions of space for social service offices as part of a HUD-related facility, such as an elderly drop-in center, nutrition center, or youth center