Calcasieu Police Jury explains biggest concerns in community assessment survey

Updated: Apr. 12, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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LAKE CHARLES, La. (KPLC) - There’s still much work to be done in Southwest Louisiana.

In this phase of hurricane recovery, the focus now shifts to data and comparing now to where we were this time three years ago.

Calcasieu Parish residents are being asked to participate in a Community Needs Assessment survey to provide input on the Calcasieu Parish Police Jury’s Human Services Department’s services and how well it is meeting the needs of the community.

“We could just sit in our office and guess on what we think those services are that need to be provided, or we can go to those people who know best,” said Human Services Director Tarek Polite.

The data from the last community assessment in 2018 pointed to three areas of focus: homelessness, access to health care and infrastructure.

Human Services does this assessment every three years as a requirement for the Community Services Block grant statute.

”We are almost 100 percent sure that one of the top needs, if not the top need, that’s going to come back is affordable housing,” Polite said.

That was before a global pandemic and two major hurricanes.

”We’ve received about 475 applications for that rental assistance program that was launched a couple of weeks ago.”

Polite says in the months following Hurricanes Laura and Delta, his office has heard from the community on issues that have since been heightened by the storms and the pandemic, with one of the biggest being resources for the homeless.

”There’s a lot of talk in our community about the need for emergency shelter that’s gaining momentum in the community. Somewhere along the way, some local agency will step forward to meet that particular need,” Polite said.

He says it’s just one drop in the bucket in the ongoing recovery mission for Southwest Louisiana and why he’s urging locals to take part in the assessment.

”You can never have too many agencies providing services, and it’s not a one-size-fit-all. It takes all of these groups in order for us to meet that particular need.”

Polite says the results will be used to help build new and change programming as well as apply for funding for areas with the highest need.

The Police Jury will accept survey responses until Friday, April 23.

Residents can complete the survey online HERE.

Those who cannot access the survey online can call (337) 721-4030 to request a survey be mailed to them.

For more information about the survey, you can call Human Services at (337) 721-4030.

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