Margaret J. Wheatley, an American writer, once said, “there is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about.” To help the City of Chestermere better understand what residents care about and where there are gaps in meeting those needs, a Community Social Needs Assessment was recently completed.
“We appreciate the hard work of our staff and the HelpSeeker Consultant to research, review and identify potential gaps in our social sector,” says Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “As City Council, we look forward to reviewing the report as we consider social programs and supports in the coming years.”
The report (available online here) is considered a snapshot of the community and identifies a few priority concerns including the increase of housing unaffordability, the need for affordable mental health supports, rising food insecurity, a widening income gap and an aging population.
The report’s findings will be used to review and then refresh current social programming and funding priorities and inform future transportation, recreation, housing and aging in place strategies.
“We are so appreciative of everyone who took the time to participate in our study and express their requests for social supports in Chestermere,” says Danielle Fermin, the City’s Project Manager for Community Support Services. “We now look forward to putting the study’s findings into motion as we explore next steps and determine how best to meet our community’s needs.”
Those next steps include refreshing the Social Investment Framework to coincide with the 2021 call for proposals, evaluating the effectiveness of current social programs and services to evaluate whether they are addressing the various social issues identified, and exploring specific recommendations in the report to re-allocate resources where appropriate.
“COVID-19 has changed the way we are delivering programs at the moment, but we are eager to implement the recommendations and offer new supports in new ways in the next few months that better meet the needs identified by our community,” says Fermin.
To learn more about community social reports, visit https://www.chestermere.ca/934/Social-Planning-Development