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Advancing Community wellness in the Coachella Valley

Community Listening Forum: Mecca


·         Housing

o   Lack of housing supply to keep up with demand

o   Available housing is of poor quality

o   A need for more housing assistance programs to place people timely and efficiently

§  Down payment and rental assistance programs

§  Assist with relocation for individuals who have been evicted

o   Affordable housing opportunities for workers during harvest season – often they are residing with family in overcrowded situations

o   Low-income housing

§  Single family apartments for low-income individuals with options for disability services and additional services available onsite

o   Mixed-income housing

§  Providing people the opportunity to live where their parents and grandparents reside without gentrifying neighborhoods

§  One resident left Mecca to pursue a degree and came back to work in the community she grew up in and be close to family; however, there were no opportunities for mixed-income housing

o   Availability of varying lease options – short-term housing

o   Senior living opportunities – a need for a senior housing development with onsite resources/activities

§  Connect seniors with savings plan information for retirement

·         Infrastructure improvement

o   Many of the trailer parks experience mold issues from leaks but cannot get the resources to fix it

o   Bring in programs that help with housing modifications – ability for disabled individuals to alter their infrastructure for ease and accommodation

o   Assistance programs for old mobile homes replacement, street paving, and repairs

·         Anti-poverty programs that focus on the at-risk population

Primary Care and Behavioral Health Access:

·         Preventative care

o   Create additional opportunities for first aid training

o   Suicide prevention programs targeted toward youth

o   Provide programs around sanitary and pesticide education

o   Increase efforts that target prevention methods to keep people out of hospitals and clinics

·         Programs directed toward people living in poverty – especially seasonal workers who are exposed to harsh working conditions

o   Find a way to increase outreach to harvest workers who are fearful of doctors or undocumented

o   Address the increase of stress within the agricultural workers as anxieties increase during off season

o   Improve availability of doctors who are educated on pesticides, asthma, and air quality

·         Alcohol and drug assistance

o   Substance abuse among youth is increasing partially due to mental health issues not being addressed

o   Individuals are self-medicating and worsening underlying issues

o   The process to get help in the eastern Coachella Valley is challenging because of the limited rehabilitation services and resources

§  What is available is either far away, not affordable or targeted to a specific group

o   There needs to be a softer approach to address mental health with the youth

o   Increased availability of psychologists/therapists (for all age groups)

·         Access to psychologists and therapists (for all age groups)

o   Have psychologists rotating monthly at apartment complexes

·         Walk-in clinics/centers/counseling

o   Improve the process of getting to a mental health professional – too much time is wasted going through a primary care provider first or waiting for insurance approval

o   Increased access to care outside of regular business hours

·         Address stigma associated with getting help – more encouragement to get people to access the assistance when they need it

·         Resource awareness – how can we improve utilization of what is already available?


Healthy Eating, Active Living:

·         Farmers’ markets

o   Ways to look at the costs associated with farmers markets.

§  The fees and permits associated with opening and running a market are expensive and you must go all the way out to Riverside County to get them

§  Have a program so that the costs do not all fall on the people and they can make a profit and increase access to healthier foods

·         Reduce the dependence on food banks

o   There are a lot of competition problems because no one can compete with free

o   How would we get a grocery store to be sustainable out in Mecca?

·         Education/Information

o   Help promote use of EBT, food stamps, etc. to get people off the food lines

o   It is often a matter of time as many work 10-hour days on the fields, pick up their kids, etc. and don’t have the time to properly nurture their family àthey have the intelligence and experience but not the time

·         Active living – we need to improve the quality of work life

o   There are a lot of physical injuries at work in addition to mental exhaustion

·         Reforming school meals - many children are utilizing the school for the majority of their school meals

o   Youth experience – the most common menu item offered is chicken sandwich or cheeseburger. The school meals offer little to no nutritional value and are of poor quality

·         Infrastructure improvement - lack of sidewalks and lighting to be active after work hours

·         Shared kitchen space

·         Helping to create opportunities to be active

o   How does it look to promote being active for families that are working physically exhausting jobs? - By the end of the day, they are exhausted. How can they promote active living for their family?

§  Healthy living is going to be different for communities that are laborers

§  Focus more on destress and relaxation

·         There is a need for program awareness that focuses on mitigating stress for all ages

o   Educate individuals on the health benefits achieved by reducing stress levels


Other Ideas:

·         Transportation – increased frequency of bus routes

o   Opportunities to access doctors with appointment transportation assistance

o   Additional routes will help the senior population’s independence

·         Assistance after fires

o   There have been a lot of fires out in the Eastern Coachella Valley in the past two years with multiple mobile home parks burning down

§  Several mobile parks do not have access to readily available, proper trucks and equipment

·         Access to water - water delivery services and access to filters

o   Connection to main water lines and sewage for mobile homes

·         Support for pregnant women – access to prenatal care

·         Local SWAP Meets

·         Sexual harassment trainings

·         Increased access to LGBTQ programs

·         Financial literacy - education

o   How to conserve credit and get information on loan opportunities

o   There are only a couple banks that are easily accessible, and banks here provide limited options with several providing high interest rates

·         Opportunity programs

o   Job training – expand programs similar to the WIN center (Indio program)

o   Savings programs – matching options

o   Vocational training

·         Community policing

·         Workplace safety - addressing injuries

·         More stores locally – residents’ ability to choose stores

·         More employment opportunities nearby for all ages

o   Ex. Oasis – there are a lot of elderly people who want to work but don’t have the option

o   Businesses prefer youth over the elderly

·         Animal control

·         Volunteer opportunities - ability to get people out and assisting in their communities

Ranking of priorities from Mecca participants [please note not everyone returned the ranking sheet]:

1.       Homelessness

2.       Primary Care/Behavioral Health access

3.       Healthy Eating, Active Living

4.       Other Ideas