Our Navigation Center is uniquely poised on the front-lines of community issues – we answer calls from thousands of Greater Austin residents on issues ranging from child care and tax preparation to food stamps and health care.
Residents who call us are often struggling with every day needs, and all of them are challenged with how to access help for those needs. We pride ourselves on connecting them to the right resource while also being friendly and professional – and it shows: our staff maintained a 99% satisfaction rate among callers.
To give Austinites a snapshot of what issues residents struggled with last year, we’re releasing our 2013 Community Needs and Trends Report – download it today.
Here’s what we saw in 2013:
Significant increase in food-related calls
Calls related to food needs continue to dominate. We saw a 58 percent increase in food stamp, SNAP and food pantry calls – piggy backing on a 55% increase last year.
Residents continue to struggle with paying bills
Residents continue to call in for help paying their electricity and rent bills and to get help with housing. These have consistently been in the top 5 needs in our area for the last three years.
Noticeable jump in calls due to launch of Affordable Care Act
We started partnering with Central Health in 2009 to make it easier for individuals to qualify for state and federal health care benefits like CHIP and MAP. Last year, our staff made 85 percent of all the appointments for Central Health, up from 76 percent the year before.
This year, we expanded our partnership and took an active role in enrolling individuals through ACA. From September to December 2013, we took in more than 1,200 calls.
Increased need for utility assistance in the summer
In our area, calls about utility assistance increase dramatically during the summer when residents start receiving higher electric bills. From June to October 2013, we took in 7,800 calls for utility assistance.
For researchers, grant writers and community members who are curious about the data – our staff can also create customized reports to assess additional community needs and help determine how to best allocate resources – contact us to find our more!