County's assessment reveals needs

One of the key findings in a new community assessment released this week is that one in 10 Ottawa County residents — equaling about 13,000 households — qualified for federal food assistance in December 2011.
Krystle Wagner
Dec 12, 2012


That's a jump of nearly 60 percent since 2009.

The Greater Ottawa County United Way rolled out the 2012 Community Assessment this week.

Patrick Moran, president of the local United Way chapter, said the data seems gloomy, but it serves a purpose.

“The role is to highlight the pressing and prevalent issues,” he said.

Moran said residents might get caught up in the community’s beauty and might not be able to see what their neighbors face throughout the state and country.

“When you see it … that kind of hits close to home,” he said.

Moran said the data drives what nonprofit and human service agencies do, so it’s important to find out where they need to put their dollars and volunteers. He said the data serves three purposes: making programs more efficient, taking the information and getting funding to help create change, and find other entities doing complimentary work with whom they can partner.

A steering committee worked with leaders from health and human services in the county to create four areas of focus before distributing surveys to residents. Those focus areas are education, financial stability, health and basic needs.

To read more of this story, see today’s print or e-edition of the Grand Haven Tribune.


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