Community Needs Assessment

Catholic Social Services: Court System Interpreter Needs Survey

The need for qualified interpretation services may be a pressing need in Alaska. Census data indicates that 13% of Alaska residents over age 5 speak a language other than English at home. Civil rights laws dictate that people with limited English proficiency must be provided with interpretation and/or translated documents in order to properly facilitate their receiving services from hospitals, the courts, post offices, etc. In an attempt to document the extent of this need in Alaska, Catholic Social Services of Alaska (CSS) is conducted a needs assessment, which facilitated completion of a business plan for creating and sustaining a centralized, statewide nonprofit language interpretation recruitment and referral center. SWEP provided assistance with instrument development and planning and to provide technical assistance for analysis of the data gathered through the needs assessment. This needs assessment incorporated two combined research projects: The anonymous use survey meets criteria for exemption from full IRB review, while the confidential cost survey meets criteria for expedited review. Potential respondents will be sent recruitment emails containing a Web link with an embedded code that will take the respondent, upon clicking it, to the appropriate survey and enable the Web survey provider to keep track of completions and send automatic reminder emails as appropriate. The list of email addresses and their completion status for the use survey will not be available to the research team after the use survey is launched. For the cost survey, this list will be available to the research team, as CSS wants to attempt to maximize the response rate from a smaller subsample of key informants. If necessary, members of this subsample who have not completed the survey will be given reminder telephone calls and, if necessary, a later second call to complete or schedule a telephone administration of the survey. This is to ensure that nonresponse from these key informants is not due to something besides an actual wish to not take part, such as an incorrect email address. Each survey is voluntary, as explained in the recruitment emails, and identifying information will not be included in any report. All results will be reported in aggregate, and these results will be about organizations, not individuals—personal information is not being gathered.

Catholic Social Services: Food Pantry Needs Survey

Catholic Social Services of Alaska has received a federal grant to implement and evaluate a new model of food distribution at their St. Francis House food pantry. This new model theorizes that providing food pantry customers with choices as to which food items they may obtain will increase customer satisfaction and decrease food waste. Catholic Social Services has contracted with SWEP to help with the design and analysis of the evaluation. Catholic Social Services staff will be in charge of data collection, which will involve approximately 100 short (5 minutes or less) confidential interviews before and after implementation of the new model. Interviewers will approach food pantry customers as they wait in or move through the line and ask eligible participants (repeat visitors) to step out of line for a brief period. No identifying information will be collected on the surveys. The interviews will collect information about food waste and satisfaction with the services at St. Francis House. Catholic Social Services will enter the data and deliver an anonymous dataset to the SWEP for analysis.