NECAC survey results show affordable housing, living-wage jobs, food security are top priorities


More than 700 people responded to a needs assessment conducted by NECAC with affordable housing, living-wage jobs and food security deemed top priorities. | Photo courtesy of

BOWLING GREEN, Mo. — A survey done by the North East Community Action Corporation shows affordable housing, living-wage jobs and food security are top priorities.

The Community Needs Assessment was conducted between Jan. 1 and June 30. More than 700 people answered online questions or attended in-person focus groups in the agency’s 12 Missouri counties.

The next step is to put together a plan aimed at offering solutions, a process expected to take several months.

In a press release, NECAC’s Kayla Wasson said, “We’ll look at these needs and figure out how we can address them. We’ll look at partnerships with other organizations to close gaps in services and other ways we can help people in our communities.”

Assessment respondents pointed to what they called a critical need for affordable housing, with many homebuyers priced out of the market. Financial concerns also were on the minds of those who said there aren’t enough living-wage jobs, especially for families. With inflation and a troubled economy, participants also were worried about food security.

NECAC already has programs that can help, but Wasson said it’s more critical than ever to find new ways of boosting the economic potential of the region.

NECAC conducts the survey every three years as part of its requirements to receive federal and state funding for social service, community health and public housing programs. Past questionnaires led to the creation of food pantries at NECAC service centers, a diaper distribution program and an employment readiness service.

Topics addressed this year included employment, education, housing and transportation. Copies of the full assessment are available at

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