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Community conversations held to assess community needs

Members of the Idaho Falls community gathered Thursday night to discuss what their biggest needs are. The workshop focused on those who make too much money to get government assistance, but not enough to make ends meet.

“We have about 41 percent of households that are struggling to make ends meet and that are kind of at that cusp one $400 emergency expense can send them kind of into a tailspin that they can’t find their way out of,” said Warren Maxfield, impact project manager for United Way Idaho Falls and Bonneville County.

United Way, Eastern Idaho Community Action Partnership and Eastern Idaho Public Health all partnered to put together these community needs assessments. They focus on education, health and financial stability needs. Their goal is to help families in local communities thrive.

The mission is “to find the barriers and obstacles that are keeping families and individuals within our service regions from realizing their full potential,” Maxfield said. “So, using the three United Way pillars of health, education and financial stability, we’re hoping to kind of dissect as we move county by county what those issues are.”

The organizations will use the data from these assessments to make sure the grant money they use in the community is addressing those needs.

“We want it to be an authentic and truly us turning and listening to them,” Maxfield said. “While we can look at these metrics and at this data what we don’t see and what we can’t know without asking, is the why behind it.”

There is another meeting in Bonneville County at the Bennion Student Union Building, from 6 to 8 p.m., Nov. 13. There will also be one in Madison County at the Madison School District Office from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 8. Free child care is available at the meetings.

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