A Community Needs Assessment is a valuable tool for Community Action Agencies across the country. It provides an opportunity to create dialogue among residents and local organizations on partnerships, resources, and policy. This is also at the heart of the planning processes that all Community Action Agencies are required to complete in order to receive Community Services Block Grants. These grants support the programs and services offered at Mountain CAP. Services currently provided by Mountain CAP address employment and education barriers, nutrition, utility assistance, and/or health needs. In addition, Mountain CAP operates Project Discovery, VITA, and Weatherization programs to further help low-income families reach self-sufficiency.
Mountain CAP creates a needs assessment every three years to document and examine the needs within the communities served. The process of developing a Community Needs Assessment guides Mountain CAP’s Strategic Plan and the Community Action Plan – which will illustrate the agency’s priorities and goals in meeting community needs. It is also a chance to evaluate current programs and plans on whether they are achieving their intended goals and/or to determine if any changes are needed to current programs to increase their impact in the community or if new programs are needed within the community. The qualitative and quantitative data provided is also a useful tool for Mountain CAP staff and community partners to uncover new resources, expose gaps in services, and provides a clear voice for residents within our three-county service area.
This Community Needs Assessment included distribution and collection of two different survey instruments, comparison and analysis of secondary data, and a full summary report.
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Our next Community Needs Assessment is slated, to begin with, a community survey in early 2022.