Nine-County Regional Needs Assessment Survey Released
BEAUMONT, September 6, 2014 - When you want to lend someone a helping hand, it’s usually best to find out what they need first.
That’s the idea behind a nine-county regional survey funded by Entergy Texas, Inc. and made a reality through partnerships with Lamar University’s Community Outreach Program and its Center for Public Policy Studies. Catholic Charities of Southeast Texas was also a partner and worked to develop the project and the questions that appeared in the survey.
The study focused on seven issues areas: employment, education, housing, health, nutrition, finances and budgeting and transportation. Surveys were distributed through church
and community organizations, with a Spanish-language version provided to Hispanic congregations as part of a special effort to include that demographic.
James Vanderleeuw, director of Lamar’s Center for Public Policy, spoke on behalf of his group and Lamar’s Department of Political Science, which actually conducted the study. “It is crucial to nonprofits to have information on the needs of citizens within their communities in order that some services are neither underfunded nor overfunded relative to community needs.”
As an example of the type of information gathered, the first of four questions about unemployment asked respondents to choose from a list of factors that they felt would identify why unemployment is a problem in this area. More than half of the respondents cited the lack of education as the most influential factor.
Other items on the list and the number of respondents identifying them as a problem included: lack of good-paying jobs with benefits, 53 percent; substance abuse, 43 percent; problems with child care, 38 percent; cost or lack of transportation, 34 percent; lack of computer skills, 30 percent; language skills, 27 percent; and employers leaving the area, 22 percent. Only 6 percent said there was no problem with unemployment.
Subsequent questions delved deeper into specific issues involving unemployment. That pattern was repeated for the remaining six issues—education, housing, health nutrition, finances and budgeting, and transportation.
Entergy Texas, Inc. delivers electricity to more than 426,000 customers in 27 counties. It is a subsidiary of Entergy Corporation. Entergy is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including more than 10,000 megawatts of nuclear power, making it one of the nation’s leading nuclear generators. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.8 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas.