District assessment surveys underway in several St. Maarten neighbourhoods

POSTED: 07/21/11 11:36 AM

St. Maarten – District needs assessment surveys are currently underway as part of the Integrated Neighbourhood Development Program (INDP). The needs assessment survey is an essential part of the INDP.

The survey consists of research and systematic consultation with community residents, stakeholders and project organizations to identify the social problems, the needs of the various persons living in the targeted neighbourhoods, their housing needs as well as existing agencies and available programs to deal with these problems.

Some 16 community development staff members were trained recently to carry out the surveys. Surveys in Dutch Quarter and Belvedere are completed. Cole Bay and Cay Bay are on-going with Down Street and Over the Pond scheduled to start next week.

With the information in hand, Community Help Desk officers will be able to efficiently provide assistance to those in need. The primary objective is to increase the quality of life in low income communities. Within the coming weeks and months three Community Help Desk officers will be able to efficiently provide assistance to those in need at three help desks that will be opened in three communities. The primary objective is to increase the quality of life in low income communities.

This effort by Government is seen as a national effort to tackle the social issues being faced by communities in need by helping individuals who face challenges. The surveys will provide information with respect to what the problems of the residents entail, the consistency and magnitude of the problems as well as the total number of vulnerable groups. The target groups that have been identified are the elderly, youth and parents, single mothers, teenage mothers, drug-addicts, chronically ill patients, the mentally ill, persons living below the minimum wage or the poverty level.

Surveys carried out in the past have also identified that many problems surrounds aspects of criminality, immigration and undocumented persons, unemployment etc.  Problem areas can also be domestic violence, child abuse, divorce, legal aspects related to alimony, labour disputes and school drop-outs.

“The INDP project is responsible for the improvement of the neighbourhoods. It is a proactive process of integrating social, cultural, economic and environmental planning to build community commitment and capacity. The intention is to contribute to the development of the neighbourhood by creating a closer and stronger tie with the people and organizations existing within the neighbourhoods where assessments are being carried out or have already been carried out. A holistic approach has been developed in order to provide the assistance to communities in need,” a release from the Department of Communications stated.

The INDP falls under the responsibilities of the Prime Minister and the Minister of Public Health, Social Development & Labour.

 

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