Community Action survey seeks input on concerns, needs

Connecting Communities in Action is in the process of performing its Community Needs Assessment, collecting insights from its partners in and residents of the community.

SALAMANCA — When residents of Cattaraugus County were asked to fill out a survey in 2018 regarding what they need to improve their lives, a number said they would like liveable wages, affordable housing and better public transportation.

Angel Fisher, brand and data manager at Community Action, or Connecting Community in Action, said the current survey is encouraging county residents and partners with the agency to document their needs in the survey.

The survey can be filled out online or on hard copy available at the agency.

“The data collected is vital in steering our current programming and guiding us to new initiatives,” Fisher said. “Every three years we are required by the Department of State to do an intensive Community Needs assessment — our last official one was done in 2018.”

While the official surveys are conducted every three years, Fisher said residents can express their needs in between those times on surveys available through the agency.

“The surveys are periodically reviewed (during the off years), but the three-year assessment is more in-depth and more in-focus,” she explained.

“We have sent the survey to anybody and everybody we ever worked with (as partners) … but anybody who lives in the (county) can do the survey.”

She noted the transportation need for the county, expressed by a number of people, continues to be a challenge.

“The OATS bus that comes on through here (to Salamanca and other areas), is very limited,” she said of the Olean Area Transit System. “The times (it runs) can be difficult for people — and there are other parts of the county where there is no public transportation. It’s alway an issue, and those folks (affected) have a hard time reaching services anywhere.”

Questions on the survey ask respondents what they believe are the five leading causes of poverty in the county and provides a number of possible causes to select from.

Other questions ask respondents to pick the five most pressing needs of the county’s low-income population; and how well the services and resources are meeting those needs. There are also questions on what are the factors in obtaining jobs and maintaining them, among others.

The community and partner links for the survey can be found at the ccaction.org website or by visiting Community Action at 25 Jefferson St. in Salamanca for hard copies. More information can also be obtained by calling the agency at 945-1041.

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com)

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