The United Way of Buffalo & Erie County has a new resource for making decisions on what human services programs to fund.
United Way officials Tuesday released a 198-page “community needs assessment” that spells out the most critical human services issues facing local governments and agencies.
Chief among them are population loss; a growth in immigrants, including many who don’t speak English; growing concentrations of aging and elderly people in the suburbs and rural areas; persistent high rates of disability, particularly in Buffalo; a large population of military veterans; poverty rates of 40 percent or more in some Buffalo neighborhoods; and much lower median, household and family income levels for the county and city, compared with the state.
Michael Weiner, United Way president and chief executive officer, called the report “voluminous” and said it will be a valuable tool for the organization and for area nonprofit human service providers.
The report is available at www.uwbec.org/needsassessment. The United Way spent about nine months and $20,000 to produce the assessment, which relied on more than 100 data sources, as well as interviews with key stakeholders and more than 30 focus groups with human service providers and local residents.
Its findings will be especially helpful as the community decides how to tackle challenges with limited resources, Weiner said.
“The reality is there are insufficient resources to address all the unmet needs out there,” Weiner said.
Without establishing priorities, he said, the community won’t make any progress in overcoming those needs.