Calcasieu Police Jury launches Community Needs Assessment Survey

Published 8:10 am Tuesday, February 13, 2024

Are you underemployed? Need help learning to use a computer? Challenged In the search for affordable healthcare or housing? Want to see more, different or even fewer community services  funded with federal and local tax dollars?

Calcasieu Parish Police Jury Human Services Department has help for those who need it. Now, it needs help to “evaluate current services, identify gaps and develop new programs to potentially meet gaps,” according to Erika Doshier, program manager.

“We’re asking residents to participate in a Community Needs Assessment Survey,” Doshier said. “Your feedback will allow us to capture genuine community needs and improve spending of our grant funding.”

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It’s easy to complete the survey. It’s a matter of checking boxes, and it takes only minutes.

The survey and Human Services is not just for low income earners, the unemployed, the sick or disabled.  At a time when prices for food, utilities, housing, insurance, vehicles, gasoline, and healthcare are on the rise, so is hardship.

“The survey is a snapshot of what’s happening. It asks if members of households find themselves under-employed or unemployed, for example,” Doshier said. “Does someone need help with skill development or to be connected to health services or other resources?

CPPJ Human Services Department will compile the information when responses are received to create a report to share with the human services advisory board.

Doshier said the last survey was three years ago, after residents lost housing or wages due to the hurricanes and the pandemic. She suspects housing will continue to be a concern, as will help with utility payments.

“Even though some homes have been renovated, it can be difficult to figure out how to pay $1,500 rent along with bills, utilities and incidentals with kids,” she said.

Not long after Doshier was hired on with CPPJ, she remembers seeing 1500 people lined up to get their names on a list for housing. The department is still working through that Section 8 list.

“We don’t have housing stock,” she said. “What we do have is the Section 8 housing program and the Department did have an emergency rental assistance program in response to COVID.

Doshier gave examples of two partnerships funded by the Community Block Grant that have been well received. By working with Second Harvest, the mobile food market delivered healthy foods in communities categorized as food deserts. By partnering with the American Jobs Center, young people have been able to make money during the summer after their junior and/or senior years to find out if their “dream job,” really is. Some of the students get job offers. Some change their minds and course of study.     

Among survey assessments – and these are just a few of the examples – are the need for child care services, access to the internet, financial literacy training, elderly living assistance, or what resources might be available for someone who is caring for a family member that is sick or disabled, but this is only a small sample. See it all.

“Lend your voice to our 2024 Community Needs Assessment and directly contribute to shaping the strategic direction of the CPPJ Human Services Programs,” Doshier said.     

Visit or call Human SErvices at 337-721-4030 to find out more.