Equity Priority Communities


"Equity Priority Communities are census tracts that have a significant concentration of underserved populations, including households with low incomes and people of color. A combination of additional factors helps define these areas."

-  Plan Bay Area 2050


The City of Santa Rosa has the objective to inform, consult, provide opportunities to participate, and empower every resident of Santa Rosa to be part of the decision-making in planning and policy discussions that affect their lives and their communities. To accomplish that objective, focusing on vulnerable, underrepresented, and historically marginalized communities and places to achieve equity and providing everyone in Santa Rosa with the opportunity to attain their full potential are major priorities for Santa Rosa Forward.

Santa Rosa Equity Priority Populations

The City is using the Plan Bay Area 2050 definition of Equity Priority Communities 2050, the California Health and Safety Code definition of vulnerable communities, Executive Order B-30-15 Equity Checklist, and the Resiliency Guidebook of Vulnerable Populations to identify Santa Rosa’s Equity Priority Populations. Based on these sources, the City identified Santa Rosa’s Equity Priority Populations as follows: 

  1. Low-income individuals and families
  2. Racial or ethnic groups experiencing disparate health outcomes
  3. Seniors, children, youth, and young adults
  4. Individuals with disabilities
  5. Immigrants and refugees
  6. Outdoor workers and farmworkers
  7. Individuals who are limited-English proficient (LEP)
  8. Unhoused people
  9. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning (LGBTQQ+) communities
  10. Individuals who are incarcerated or who have been incarcerated

Santa Rosa Equity Priority Areas

The City identified areas in Santa Rosa that have the highest concentration (top quarter of Sonoma County) of underserved populations based on current Census and demographic information. Then the extent of these areas was increased slightly to establish the Santa Rosa Equity Priority Communities based on data from Census ACS 2015 – 2019, as shown in the following table.

Demographic Factors
PBA2050 Threshold
(Census tract)
2014 -2018
 SRGPU 2050 Threshold
(Census group)

People of Color
(Hispanic/Latinx, Asian, Black/African American, Indigenous/Native American)



(<200% Federal Poverty Level-FPL for PBA)(***Federal Poverty Level for SRGPU)









Based on this approach, the City prepared the following Equity Priority Areas map that identifies the locations of these communities in Santa Rosa. 



 Barriers for Equity Priority Populations

The six main barriers identified for vulnerable communities to participate in planning meetings, events, or surveys in the City of Santa Rosa are:

  1. Technical language used for planning and government affairs
  2. Time limitations and physical location of meetings
  3. Financial resources required to attend (transit fares, gas, daycare services, and tip-based or salary income dependent on work hours, among others)
  4. Lack of cultural appropriateness of events and documents provided to communities
  5. Government communication is done in English only.
  6. Lack of trust in local government due to immigration status, discrimination, or lack of response to individual or community concerns
  7. Lack of access to or lack of experience with digital technology 

Strategies to Engage Equity Priority Communities

The City prepared an Equity Priority Communities Empowerment Workplan to help organize and prioritize engagement efforts to these communities. The workplan includes the following key strategies and activities:

  • Event Collaboration. Identify and attend in person events that other organizations (County, other City departments, non-profits, neighborhoods, businesses, and others) are hosting during the Santa Rosa Forward process where one or more Equity Priority Populations will be present.
  • Targeted Approach. Reach out to specific Equity Priority Populations through targeted meetings, focus groups, and/or interviews. This would include engaging a small number of people and for the City to be intentional and accommodating to reduce or eliminate barriers for them to participate in the project.
  • Equity Grant Program. Create and execute a grant program that can provide up to $2,500 per project to organizations or residents who are part of the Equity Priority Populations or Areas identified in the city or those who provide services to them to promote the Santa Rosa Forward project.
  • Adjustments to Engagement Events. Tailor community events to make them accessible to Equity Priority Communities. This can include translation to Spanish and other languages, Spanish-only meetings, paper surveys, additional meetings, and reaching out to residents and organizations to help with event invitations, organization, and cultural appropriateness.

More Info

For additional information on Equity Priority Populations and other demographics of Santa Rosa.

Additional information on how the City is addressing equity can be found at: https://srcity.org/3610/Equity-SR