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Williamsport/Lock Haven -- STEP, Inc., the Community Action Agency for Lycoming and Clinton Counties, is required to perform a Community Needs Assessment at least every three years and upon any major change in the service area.

Considering COVID-19 to be a major community change, STEP mobilized to distribute a survey to Lycoming and Clinton Counties.

The Community Needs Assessment surveys were deployed on April 15 through SurveyMonkey and ran through May 16. Key areas addressed in the survey included employment, education, children and youth, housing, health and nutrition, emergency services, senior support services, disability services, and substance abuse.

In Lycoming County, 776 residents responded, and 262 Clinton County residents responded.

The primary theme of the data analysis was that community needs that were existent prior to COVID-19 have been amplified and heightened. More urgent needs included access to reliable internet/technology, childcare needs, emergency needs for families in crisis, food insecurity, mental health support, safe and affordable housing, and substance abuse recovery services.

The full report is available here.

Most of these needs were also identified during the 2018 Community Needs Assessment, but COVID-19 has worsened the effects of these struggles on Lycoming and Clinton County residents.

Because the situation with COVID-19 is continually changing, STEP expects community needs to change as well. Another survey is planned for early fall.

This story was compiled by an NCPA staff reporter from submitted news. To see a list of our editorial staff please visit our staff directory.