WHO SHOULD BE INVOLVED IN DEVELOPING A PLAN FOR ASSESSING LOCAL NEEDS AND RESOURCES?

As we’ve discussed, the assessment process benefits greatly when there’s full participation from community stakeholders. Among those who should be involved:

  • Those experiencing needs that should be addressed. It’s both fair and logical to involve those who are most directly affected by adverse conditions. They know best what effects those conditions have on their lives, and including them in the planning process is more likely to produce a plan that actually speaks to their needs.
  • Health and human service providers. These individuals and organizations, especially those that are community-based, often have both a deep understanding of the community and a strong empathic connection with the populations they serve.  They can be helpful both by sharing their knowledge and by recruiting people from marginalized populations to contribute to the assessment.
  • Government officials. Elected and appointed officials are often those who can help or hinder a community change effort. Engaging them in planning and carrying out an assessment helps to ensure that they will take the effort seriously and work to make it successful.
  • Influential people. These can include individuals who are identified as leaders because of their positions — college presidents, directors of hospitals and other major organizations, corporate CEOs — because of the prestige of their professions — doctors, professors, judges, clergy — or because they are known to be people of intelligence, integrity, and goodwill who care about the community.
  • People whose jobs or lives could be affected by the eventual actions taken as a result of the assessment. These include teachers, police, emergency room personnel, landlords, and others who might have to react if new community policies or procedures are put in place.
  • Community activists. People who have been involved in addressing policy or issues that could come up in the course of the assessment have a stake in planning the assessment as well.
  • Businesses, especially those that employ people from populations of concern. The livelihoods of local business owners could be affected by the results of the assessment, as could the lives of their employees.

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When should needs and assets be identified

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