Community Needs Assessment

The Story County Quality of Life Alliance (SCQLA) conducts a health and human needs assessment every five years as requested by the Iowa Department of Public Health. This assessment guides local educational programming and services. The 2020 needs assessment focused on: 

“What are the most important health and human service needs of the people of Story County and why?” 

The answer to this question was determined through four waves of data collection:

  • Analysis of the American Community Survey data for Story County and existing data from 13 key SCQLA partners 
  • A survey of 567 people who live in Story County 
  • Two focus groups involving 15 key community members from Nevada and Zearing 
  • A panel of 13 Story County health and human service experts who directly observe needs during COVID 19

Across the four sources of data the top health and human service needs are (most important listed first): 

  • Mental health services 
  • Food security 
  • Housing 
  • Child Care 
  • Suicide Prevention
  • Income

These needs were determined from the personal and professional observations of people participating in the survey, focus groups, and panel. Specific actions to address the six most important issues were suggested by the panelists (most often mentioned actions listed first):

  • Mental health services – increase the number of and access to providers, analyze current data on services and identify gaps to fill, promote current services
  • Food security – increase partnerships, increase food security screenings, use food insecurity data 
  • Housing – increase partnerships, increase use of data and policies 
  • Childcare – Increase day care opportunities, increase partnerships 
  • Suicide prevention – Increase education and outreach
  • Income – Increase and expand education and employment opportunities

SCQLA Needs Assesment - Full Report