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Resident satisfaction survey scores high marks for Seattle Housing

Independent survey documents perceptions across resident groups

SEATTLE—December 21, 2009—A recent satisfaction survey conducted by Hebert Research, Inc. for the Seattle Housing Authority showed a high level of satisfaction with the service and housing quality provided by the Housing Authority. Overall, 74 percent of residents and participants were highly satisfied with the service provided. An additional 22 percent were moderately satisfied. Four percent of those surveyed reported not being satisfied.

Hebert, a well-known independent research firm based in Bellevue, WA, contacted 325 residents and participants by telephone. The research firm was successful at reaching a representative sample of both residents and voucher holders. A quarter of the interviews were conducted in languages other than English, and 39 percent of households surveyed included at least one person with a disability.

The goal of the survey was to test residents’ and participants’ satisfaction with their current housing, to determine their satisfaction around their interactions with maintenance and management staff and inspections, and to measure how safe and secure they feel in their housing. Survey participants were also asked about factors in choosing their housing location and their use of tobacco.

According to the survey findings, “This research revealed that SHA residents are extremely satisfied in all of the objectives measured above. These findings were truly remarkable; in most satisfaction surveys, results do not contain nearly the same degree of satisfaction as can be found among SHA residents.”

“We are glad to know that we have achieved a high level of satisfaction among the residents we serve,” notes Executive Director Tom Tierney. “Our organizational values stress that we pursue our mission in a spirit of service, teamwork and respect. It is gratifying to receive evidence that we are succeeding here.”

Generally residents were asked to rate their satisfaction with each factor on a scale of 1 – 10, with 10 being the highest score. Satisfaction with the Housing Choice Voucher Program received the highest rating at 8.88 out of a possible 10.

Residents were generally well satisfied with maintenance and repairs. Nearly 80 percent (79.2 percent) said they were highly satisfied with how well repairs were done. Residents reported being treated very well by the person performing the repairs, with 89 percent reporting that they were highly satisfied with this factor.

Safety and security were also rated high. When asked how safe they felt alone at night in their home, 79 percent said the felt extremely safe and 17 percent said they felt moderately safe. Asked how comfortable they felt allowing their school-age children to walk alone through the community during the day, 62 percent reported feeling extremely comfortable/safe.

Overall satisfaction with property management was also generally high, with the highest score returned for “responsiveness to your questions and concerns about your rent.” Seventy six percent reporting that they felt highly satisfied.

Most survey participants reported being very satisfied with the inspection process. The survey asked how satisfied they were with the notification process (85 percent said “highly satisfied”) with how they were treated by inspectors (93 percent were highly satisfied), and with the follow through on completing necessary repairs (84 percent reported being highly satisfied).

Generally, the people who participated in the survey were satisfied with their housing Most said they were satisfied with the value of their housing for the rent paid (94 percent), and most would recommend their property to a friend or relative (89 percent). Most people strongly agreed that their community was open and accepting toward people of diverse backgrounds (84 percent).

One interesting finding from the survey was that residents from Yesler Terrace “gave significantly lower satisfaction ratings than did residents of other housing portfolios in the areas reflecting the quality and condition of their home and neighborhood, as well as safety in their indoor common areas.”

The location of housing was significantly more important to non-English speaking residents than to English speakers. Residents reported that the most important reason for choosing the location where they live as the fact that there are stores and restaurants nearby that carry the kind of food they eat (54 percent) and that the location is near a bus line (50 percent).

Nearly 80 percent of survey participants reported that they do not smoke tobacco. About 64 percent believe that their building should be smoke-free.

On average, survey participants reported that they were on a waiting list for about a year and nine months before moving into their home. People who live in a single family home spent more time on the waiting list (more than two years) than others.

For nearly seventy percent, the community that they now live in was their first choice.

Download the complete results of the survey