People stand in line to apply for affordable housing in December. (Daniel Archuleta daniela@www.smdp.com)

Community Corporation of Santa Monica doesn’t need the New Year’s prompt to commit to self-improvement and officials have already announced plans to increase the quality of its outreach efforts.

The organization will increase the number of opportunities to qualify for its housing list and step up education with a new website in 2016.

Community Corp. is a nonprofit organization that builds and manages affordable housing throughout the Los Angeles area. The organization uses a combination of private and public funds to create housing options ranging from small four-unit buildings to their largest project containing 62 units. The sites are held in trust and staffed by employees hired from the residents.

Qualifying for Community Corp. housing is an annual process running from December through January and those in need of housing have had one chance to qualify for the list. However, that’s about to change. Community Corp. will open the list twice in 2016 and officials said they’d like to grow to the point of opening it quarterly.

“We’ve gotten feedback that there’s a degree of frustration doing this once a year,” said Sarah Letts, executive director of the organization.

According to Letts, the second chance in 2016 will require some restructuring and an increase in resources.

“It’s a big investment of time to staff up this whole process, of staffing seminars and walking people through the process,” she said.

“We feel like it’s worth it,” said Durinda Abraham, Director of Property Management. “We really want to be more customer service-orientated and we feel this is a step in that right direction. We want to be more available to getting the people that need the help on our list.”

Community Corp. is also stepping up its commitment to education and communication with a new website.

“It’s a completely overhauled website so customers find it much easier to know about us,” said Letts. “They can get standard forms online and if you’re on your smart phone it will be a lot better.”

Letts said the new website and more frequent qualification opportunities are part of a consistent push to make the application process as easy as possible.

“I went to the artists workshop in mid-November and I was trying to explain the process because people think it sounds like so much effort but it’s easy,” she said. “It just takes a few minutes, it’s really easy and that’s what I hope people realize, it’s not a daunting task.”

Abraham said when applicants do come to the registration meetings, staff are on hand to help walk them through the system and Community Corp. staff want to really explain their offerings to current Santa Monica workers and residents.

“We will come out and do presentations for community members, we love to come and inform small business,” she said.

However, that outreach can be challenging when employers don’t make their potentially qualified workers available to hear the information.

“We really want to capture the workforce here and stay true to being in Santa Monica,” said Letts. “We wish people managers or business would allow us to post notices. I just wish there was a little bit more encouragement from people managers and owners to try to get their people on the list.”

The current registration window closes Dec. 30. To potentially qualify for housing, interested parties should pick up an appointment card at 502 Colorado Ave. (from the Community Room). That card will specify a date and time for a January seminar where applicants will fill out a questionnaire to join the marketing list.

Appointment cards are available from Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. on Dec. 21, 22, 23, 28, 29 and 30.

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