By Wendy Holdren
A needs assessment conducted by Raleigh County Community Action Association cites health, transportation, employment and children’s needs as the four primary issues causing poverty in the county.
Kingery and Company LLC, which conducted the project, surveyed residents, interviewed community stakeholders, conducted secondary data research and provided a summary report with findings and recommendations.
A Needs Assessment Steering Committee, consisting of RCCAA staff and external community stakeholders, was formed to set direction, assist with primary data collection, monitor progress and analyze results.
The external stakeholders included representatives from the City of Beckley, United Way of Southern West Virginia, FMRS, DHHR, The Dream Center, Salvation Army, Beckley-Raleigh County Health Department, United Bank, AccessHealth, Commission on Aging, YMCA, Memorial Baptist Church and Birth to Three.
“It was important that we involved a diverse group of community representatives to participate in the community needs assessment process,” RCCAA Executive Director Bobbi Thomas-Bailey said. “RCCAA is proud to lead the way in identifying needs and taking action to make life better for the individuals and families in Raleigh County.”
Action plans were established for each of the areas of concern.
For health needs, RCCAA has applied for a grant to hire four individual personal assistants to enroll eligible individuals into Medicaid and the private marketplace under the federal Affordable Care Act.
RCCAA also applied to be community assistors to enroll eligible people to Medicaid, and the association plans to provide educational opportunities to promote awareness of options available. RCCAA plans to increase the number of Federally Qualified Health Centers offering dental services in the area, to educate and encourage private dentists to accept Medicaid/CHIPS, and to educate clients about the importance of keeping appointments.
As for transportation, RCCAA plans to increase awareness about public transportation by sharing success stories and testimonials from current clients who use RCCAA transportation.
The association also plans to provide education seminars to the public on money management issues including credit repair, budgeting and wants versus needs.
On the employment front, RCCAA plans to initiate basic employment skills training, locations for GED education, research and possibly create a Junior Achievement program as well as spreading information about available jobs and resources to current RCCAA clients.
For children, RCCAA plans to develop a fee for service programs to offer family development services to members of the county to assist them in developing realistic goals and a detailed plan to achieve those goals. The association also plans to provide regular public seminars on issues that affect families, like budgeting and meal planning.
RCCAA also plans to use previously established partnerships with agencies such as WorkForce West Virginia and the Academy of Careers and Technology to connect community members to job training, and create new partnerships with other agencies offering job skills training.
For more information, contact Thomas-Bailey at 304-252-6396.
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