Survey of needs has data to mine
In 2013, when Clark County surveyed low-income households about their top needs, dental care was a big priority and housing was rated more middle-of-the-pack.“It was a need, but it wasn’t a high need. It wasn’t a crisis at that point,” said Rebecca Royce, program coordinator at Clark County Community Services.Fast-forward to last summer, when 1,165 households took the confidential Low-Income Needs Survey: food, utility assistance, employment services and housing rose to the top. There is nuance within each of those needs. With housing, some people need help paying rent. Others seek help covering move-in costs, and some people are trying to repair their credit.Every three years, the county has to conduct the survey, which helps shape funding decisions. The survey looks at how many people report having specific needs and how they rank those needs.The survey is a requirement from the federal government for administering Community Services Block Grant funding, of which Clark County gets about $450,000 annually. The 2016 survey, included in the more detailed Community Needs Assessment, will direct 2019, 2020 and 2021 funding.Each time the survey is conducted, Royce said, county workers try to refine it and are focusing on getting more accurate, thorough data. Last summer, they got responses from people living in every ZIP code in the county.