United Way of Horry County introduces new game plan to combat the biggest issues addressed in survey

Published: May. 10, 2022 at 9:28 PM EDT
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HORRY COUNTY, S.C. (WMBF) - New data from a survey is giving a better look at the biggest struggles that Horry County is facing.

In 2021, the United Way of Horry County sent out a community needs assessment survey to Horry County Schools and other organizations to assess the needs of the community.

The survey had about 4,000 responses and found the biggest challenges range from mental health issues to child care to basic needs like transportation.

Some of the results from the survey found that over half of the participants needed mental health care in the last year. Fifty-five percent of people said there was not enough safe, affordable and full-time childcare. And 32% of participants missed a rent, mortgage or utility payment in the last 12 months because they didn’t have enough money. Also in the survey, 78% of participants expressed that they were concerned that young people were not being prepared for the workforce.

“From the community needs assessment, we kind of really found what the needs are in the community and we used that to develop the game plan,” said Heather Downing, the Marketing and Events Manager at United Way of Horry County.

The game plan has four priority areas where the county is seeing the most issues. The focus areas include health, education, basic needs and self-sufficiency.

“You know we had voices in the community who were telling us what they seeing, what they were needing and that’s really where we tried to focus in was to find the biggest needs from the voices in the community,” said Downing.

Currently, agencies and nonprofits are applying for funding from United Way for 2023. To qualify for their funding, the agency must address how they will help to combat the key issues that the recent community survey found.

“We can’t solve all the problems, but we can work to make sure that there is change happening,” said Downing.

United Way was recently awarded over $600,000 from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Community Development Block Grant COVID-19 (CDBG-CV) will fund the Breaking Barriers in Mental Health program. This program provides consistent, onsite, out-patient mental health and substance abuse disorder counseling services to the homeless, uninsured, under-insured and low to moderate income and the rural population at no cost.

“We applied for the grant partnering with the Center for Counseling and Wellness to be able to offer counseling services to different agencies. Those agencies are 11 different organizations throughout the area, where they’ll be able to offer counseling services for the next few years to the low income, underinsured, uninsured population,” said Downing.

The grant money will go toward paying for the counselors to be there and any supplies or materials they may need to help their patients.

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