Unity Project Releases Needs Assessment Data
More than a year ago, the Unity Project asked members of the lgbt community in Vermont to answer a questionnaire on what the community needed most. The results have been compiled since last October, but had not been released before now, said Samara Foundation Executive Director Bill Lippert, because they were not yet in an easily presentable form.
Samara Foundation partnered with the Vermont Community Foundation to raise funds for the Unity Project to grant to the community. The needs assessment "informed" the priorities of the grant committee in deciding what kinds of projects would be welcomed for possible grants from the project.
The most interesting assessment survey results came from the community issues respondents ranked as most important: civil rights (89%), protection against violence and HIV/AIDS education and prevention (77% each), access to lgbtq-friendly physical and mental health care (76% each), support for lgbtq youth in school (75%), and community education to decrease homophobia (75%).
At the same time, some of those items were ranked among issues that were not being adequately addressed, topmost among them community education to decrease homophobia. Responses from outside Chittenden County said that reducing isolation was not being adequately addressed, while Chittenden County respondents tended to identify greater community cohesiveness as an inadequately addressed issue. Support for lgbt elderly (66%), teachers (67%), and youth (65%) was high on the list of issues needing more attention, followed by support for kids in lgbt families, affordable housing, and HIV/AIDS medical services (60% each).