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Newton seeks community input to help guide support for lower-income residents

The city of Newton seeks community input as officials plan to use federal COVID-19 relief funds to help address the needs of lower-income residents, according to Mayor Ruthanne Fuller.

Officials are working on a community needs assessment to “receive insights and guidance directly from those most impacted on the most effective ways to provide support,” Fuller said in a statement.

The assessment and the resulting guidance and recommendations will enable the city to create responsive programming and initiatives “to improve the well-being of low resourced residents and build a more stable future,” Fuller said.

Newton is expected to receive about $63 million through the American Rescue Plan Act, along with an additional $3.2 million for its schools.


The community needs survey takes 10 to 15 minutes to complete and is confidential, Fuller said. The assessment will be completed over the fall and winter, and a final report with recommendations to plan programs will be available early next year.

The survey is available in English online at and translated versions in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Russian can be accessed at

The city has hired a contractor to help conduct the survey and hold focus groups on community needs, including with lower-income residents, according to Fuller. The process is being overseen by the city’s Health and Human Services and Planning departments.

During the pandemic, the city provided about $2.8 million in financial housing assistance to nearly 250 households in Newton. The city also has invested in food assistance programs and other efforts to help residents with fewer financial resources who were impacted by the pandemic, according to Fuller.

John Hilliard can be reached at