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Community Needs Assessment Underway in Blair County

The Healthy Blair County Coalition (HBCC) is conducting a community health needs assessment. As part of that effort, households are being surveyed to learn more about the strengths and issues in neighborhoods.

“We value each individual opinion and believe insights from people who live in the county will improve our communities,” said Coleen Heim of the HBCC.

Surveys are being mailed to a random sampling of households in Blair County, and responses from individual households will remain anonymous. If your household receives a survey, please complete and return it using the envelope provided. Or you may go online using the Web site link in the letter. Either way, all responses must be received by the end of August.

In addition, other surveys are being sent to businesses, labor unions, service providers, associations, key informants and faith-based organizations. The information gathered from the needs assessment will be compiled over the next few months and used by many organizations to improve services and programs throughout Blair County.

“Improving the community is a process that takes a collaborative approach,” Heim said, “and by working together we can build a better community in Blair County.”

Beginning in 2012, all hospitals are required by the Affordable Care Act to conduct a community health needs assessment and develop an intervention plan to meet those needs.

“Members of the Healthy Blair County Coalition Steering Committee view this as an opportunity to assess and, we hope, impact all aspects of a healthy Blair County,” Heim said. “We encourage people from all segments of the community to participate. A healthy Blair County means impacting social, economic, emotional and physical needs of residents and the community itself.”

This project is funded or supported in part by Altoona Regional Health System, Nason Hospital, Tyrone Hospital, Penn State Altoona and the Blair County Drug and Alcohol Program Inc. Many other organizations are represented on the Steering Committee.

 About HBCC: In 2007, the United Way of Blair County and the Blair County Human Services Office invited organizations to collaborate on a community-wide needs assessment. The Blair County Needs Assessment Partnership was formed to provide direction and ongoing support for the project. The ultimate goal of the comprehensive assessment is to identify community assets, identify targeted needs, and develop an action plan to fill those needs. In 2012 the group adopted the name Healthy Blair County Coalition.