United Way of Horry County’s (UWHC) has released the results of the Community Needs Assessment that was completed to identify the most pressing needs of Horry County and help UWHC and others understand the current state of Horry County so how to move forward to create a thriving community for all. UWHC partnered with several organizations to conduct a county-wide survey and several community conversations. This community wisdom was taken and then paired with secondary research and statistics.
UWHC conducted a county-wide survey that opened on March 8, 2021, and closed on April 30, 2021, with a total of 3,880 responses. There were three surveys available; a community member survey available in both English and Spanish and a community service provider survey. In partnership with Waccamaw Community Foundation, UWHC conducted 20 community conversations throughout Horry County, talking with 266 individual community members.
Key findings in the basic needs and self-sufficiency areas noted the high concern of 74% of households needing food assistance in the last year and those expressing concern for affordable (70%) and emergency (50%) housing. These needs are supported by the fact that 48.7% of households in Horry County are cost-burdened, spending more than 30% of gross income on housing expenses. Only 47.9% of the population in Horry County is self-sufficient, meaning they have income adequacy that covers their basic needs for working families without having any need for public assistance or family support.
In the community health findings, 54% of respondents noted needing mental health care in the last 12 months and one in four respondents needed substance abuse care. These findings support what research has shown in over 40% of Americans having an adverse behavioral health outcome due to the coronavirus pandemic, including suicidal ideation, anxiety disorder, and systems associated with major depression. From 2018-2019 there was a 45.7% increase in total drug overdose death in Horry County, with this number rising even more due to COVID-19.
Several key findings in education showed the majority of people believe there is a lack of youth programs and services in our area and expressed that there are not enough safe, affordable, and full-time places for children to go, including daycares. Almost 80% of respondents also stated preparing young people for the workforce was a concern.
Two major factors that continued to show up throughout surveys and conversations were the issue of not being aware of resources that were available in our community along with the access to receiving those resources and concern regarding the lack of transportation throughout Horry County.
“The information from this assessment will allow us to look at our county and see where UWHC, other nonprofits, businesses, and government entities can collaborate to enhance and expand current programs and also develop new programs to address the area’s top concerns and fill gaps in services of need,” states Blakely Roof, President & CEO for UWHC. “We plan on using this data to fulfill our new vision of creating an equitable community where opportunity is not limited and every member reaches their full potential.”
The full Community Needs Assessment Summary can be found here or you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a report.