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United Way releases Community Needs Assessment

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Buffalo: United Way releases Community Needs Assessment
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The United Way of Buffalo and Erie County works to improve the quality of life in the area, often with limited resources. Now, it's created a comprehensive report to help it and other organizations make a bigger impact. YNN's Kaitlyn Lionti tells us about the Community Needs Assessment and what the United Way hopes it will do.

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Nearly 200 pages discussing population, education, health, and other issues in Buffalo and Erie County - it's the United Way's Community Needs Assessment, created to help better understand the challenges facing the area.

"In order to guide us, in terms of how to take a donation that we receive from a donor in the community, and wisely invest that in critical needs in our community," said Michael Weiner, president of the United Way of Buffalo and Erie County.

Officially released this week, it's the first formal needs assessment the United Way's done in more than 15 years.

Weiner said, "One of our goals in doing this report was to identify and to measure 'what are the critical key indicators that represent high risk for our community and for our citizens?' and then to utilize this as a vehicle to promote positive change."

So the assessment not only reports data and trends, it also offers recommendations and possible solutions.

"We're hoping other not-for-profits, health and human services organizations will use it, people who plan services, the foundation community, we'll see that they have copies of this material, our government partners, city, and county partners who represent health and human service organizations, policy makers," said Weiner.

We caught up with Erie County Legislator Lynn Marinelli as she was going through the assessment.

She says she's already spoken with the chair of the legislature's Health and Human Services Committee about having Weiner in to discuss it.

"These are needs that are being spread throughout the county, and that should not be a surprise, but I think it becomes the depth of it. The needs are going to grow, while the revenue to support the services for that is either flat or lessened," said Marinelli.

You can find the United Way's Community Needs Assessment by clicking here.

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