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Site social service facilities
Sometimes communities have a strong need for social services that can be made more accessible by locating them in a station area, can act as a strong center for a community, and can spur economic progress in the area. Station areas with populations that have especially low incomes or educational attainment are likely candidates for improved social service access. In some instances, these areas may already have ample affordable housing but lack easy access to key services that might improve community members’ quality of life. While it is always beneficial to site public services near transit, in these instances, it is especially appropriate to site social service facilities in the station area.
For instance, station areas with extremely low educational attainment may have residents that have difficulty participating in the job markets that are accessible to them by transit. Providing adult education facilities at these stations provides these individuals with especially easy access to the service while making the services transit accessible for the wider population.
Fruitvale Transit Village in Oakland, CA has been lauded as a fine example of community engagement in the development of MITOD. The Unity Council, the local non-profit that oversaw the planning and development, was sure to address many of the community’s social service needs as they planned the Village. The project’s community services space includes a health clinic, a library, a head start program, a foster children’s counseling clinic, and a senior center. These serve 500 to 1,000 people daily, not including the clinic. Between the community services and retail, there will be more than 400 jobs on site when fully occupied, providing employment to local residents as well as a boost to the daytime economic base for restaurants and other services. Social services have been a resource for the community and a benefit to station area as a whole.