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Walden University WK8 Pregnant and Parenting Youth Experiencing Homelessness in America Discussion

 

Respond to at least two colleagues by doing all of the following:

  • Indicate strengths of their needs assessment plan that will enable the needs assessments to yield support for the program that they want to develop.
  • Offer suggestions to improve the needs assessment plan in areas such as:
    • Defining the extent and scope of the need
    • Obtaining important information about the target population
    • Identifying issues that might affect the target population’s ability to access the program or services

David—

Post a needs assessment plan for a potential program of your choice that meets a currently unmet need.

The needs assessment identified that problem or concern to be evaluated and explore ways to involve stakeholders (Tutty & Rothery, 2010). One program need involves homeless young mothers. The women in the program are under the age of 25 and are from diverse backgrounds. Participants in the program are from low income families and some of the young mothers have substance abuse and mental health issues. The issue that needs to be focused on include finding the young, homeless mother housing and connecting them to substance abuse and mental health services. Temporary housing is available, but participants have to wait a long time for permanent housing. The assessment will collect information on the problem, ways to address the problem, available services and resources, and identify barriers to service.

Describe the unmet need and how current information supports your position that a needs assessment is warranted.

Young mothers who are homeless will struggle to create a safe, loving environment for their children. According to the research, 51% of American children who experience homelessness are under age five (Family Gateway, 2019). A lack of affordable housing is one of the key causes for homelessness. A typical homeless family is comprised of a single mother with her two young children (Family Gateway, 2019). Homeless mothers account for 37% of the homeless population (Family Gateway, 2019). Housing is essential to ending the problem.

Identify the sources of information that you might use when conducting a needs assessment, including potential informants.

The sources of information that can be used when conducting a needs assessment include statistical information collected by state and federal agencies and homeless organizations, survey data from homeless mothers, secondary research sources, media reports, and demographic data. The health department, local housing department, and staff at homeless shelters and organizations can provide valuable data.

Explain who among these potential informants would be valuable resources and why.

The Census Bureau and the U.S. Department of Labor can provide factual information about the homeless mother’s demographic background and employment information while secondary research sources can provide statistical data. Th health department can provide health information while the local housing department can provide data on the gaps in housing in the city.

Identify steps for obtaining credible, unbiased information.

The steps for obtaining credible, unbiased information include timeliness, authority, audience, relevance, and perspective. Under timeliness, the source should be recent while the author of the source must have the authority to speak on the topic. Next, the source is evaluated for the intended audience and the relevance of the source to the topic. Lastly, the source should provide more than one perspective to avoid bias.

Family Gateway. (2019). Homeless Facts & Statistics, Retrieved April 15, 2019 from

https://www.familygateway.org/about-us/facts-stati…

Tutty, L. M. & Rothery, M.A. (2010). Needs assessments. In B. Thyer (Ed.), The handbook of

social work research methods (2nd ed., pp- 149-162). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Ashley—

Dudley (2020) discusses that a needs assessment of a particular group of people can produce many positive results as well as get stakeholders involved and committed to the assessment so that there can be a more genuine community-wide concern for the client group. HUDVASH is a collaborative program that combines HUD housing vouchers with VA supportive services to assist veterans with finding and sustaining permanent housing. The main goal of this program is to target veterans who are the most vulnerable and in most cases suffer from a severe mental or physical health problem along with limited access to social supports or multiple unsuccessful treatment attempts thus making them chronically homeless (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2019a).

Unmet need:

Dudley (2020) also notes that needs assessments can be useful when considering a new policy or program initiative as well as when considering changes to or discontinuation of an existing program. While the HUDVASH program assists with housing many homeless veterans, there are still gaps in the program that contribute to unmet need of stable and secure housing for certain subgroups of veterans, thus warranting a needs assessment for consideration in making changes to the program. While the number of homeless veterans has declined, older veterans remain a vulnerable population for homelessness especially those in unstable economic situations, drug/alcohol problems, and lack of support. Along with this, as housing and health service expenses continue to rise, the aging older veteran population faces new financial pressures making them at greater risk for homelessness (Sturtevant, Brennan, Viveiros, & Handelman, 2015). The HUDVASH program should incorporate specific housing options for aging veterans as they require different needs such as accessibility and supportive services typical of assisted living.

Sources of information:

Sources of information that could be utilized when conducting the needs assessments could include the target population of the aging veterans as they are the individuals of concern and needing assessment, so they could provide valuable information in the specifics of their needs that may differ from general homeless veterans. Tutty and Rothery (2010) note that strategies for building trust, rapport, and engagement are essential for successful data gathering from this group of stakeholders because they may be hesitant to share their opinions. Case managers or members of the HUDVASH team could be key informants as they have more knowledge of the services available and may be able to speak more on the needs to be addressed as well as having data on the ages of the veterans needing or utilizing the housing vouchers. Continuums of Care (CoCs) who are local planning bodies responsible for coordinating all homelessness services in a geographic area would be another key informant because they conduct Point-in-Time (PIT) counts of sheltered and unsheltered individuals such as those living on the street or in another place not intended for human habitation (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, 2019b). They then report back to the HUDVASH team in most cases so that outreach can be done.

Obtaining credible, unbiased information:

Credible and unbiased information can be obtained through governmental studies at both the national and state level as the all VA medical centers must provide accurate data to continue obtaining funding for the program as well as may be able to provide data on the number of aging veterans in their area that would benefit from a change in the program to address their specific needs. Tutty and Rothery (2010) also note that to avoid risk of bias, collecting data from three or more sources that have different perspectives could represent a stronger case if there is congruence in the data obtained.

Resources:

Dudley, J. R. (2020). Social work evaluation: Enhancing what we do (3rd ed.). Oxford University Press.

Sturtevant, L., Brennan, M., Viveiros, J., & Handelman, E. (2015). Housing and Services Needs of Our Changing Veteran Population. https://nhc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Housing-and-Services-Needs-of-Our-Changing-Veteran-Population.pdf.

Tutty, L. M., & Rothery, M. A. (2010). Needs Assessments. In B. Thyer (Ed.), The handbook of social work research methods
(2nd ed., pp. 149-162). Sage.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019a). Veterans Experiencing Homelessness. https://www.va.gov.homeless/hud-vash.asp.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. (2019b). Point-in-Time (PIT) Count. https://www.va.gov/HOMELESS/pit_count.asp.

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