A group of about 50 community stakeholders gathered on Tuesday, Feb. 27 to gather data and to better understand community needs.
Madison Neece, with Great Rivers United Way, along with officials from Houston County Public Health, facilitated and narrated the discussions.
After data was collected, the group analyzed, organized and prioritized the biggest needs in Houston county.
The most surprising finding of the surveys that were sent out, according to Neece, was that only 52 percent of the kids in Houston County felt that the adults cared about them.
Data showed that nearly 14 percent of Houston County’s residents have “low food access.”
Water and air quality was also data that the group looked at.
Cancer and heart disease were the top two causes of death in Houston county from 2012 to 2016.
Per 100,000 people, 86 was the number of violent crimes in Houston County.
Other data considered was access to dental care, diet and exercise, drug and alcohol use, education, graduation rates, etc.
After considering the data, the group broke off into cohorts to discuss their opinions on the greatest needs in Houston County.
The stakeholders assembled felt that the number one issue that needs more attention in Houston County is access to care for mental health issues.
The second most urgent issue facing Houston county according to the group, is the lack of quality jobs that pay good wages and encourage people to move to Houston County.
Drug and alcohol and tobacco abuse rounded out the top three issues that the group identified.
Great River United Way will put together the data for Houston county and will provide a detailed book to Houston County public health regarding the findings.
Public health can then use that information to determine future policy and help guide them towards the best Houston county possible.