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What is a Community Assessment?

A community assessment is both a product and a process.

A community assessment is a systematic way of identifying the needs and resources of a community by gathering statistical data, soliciting perspectives of community members and collecting information about service providers and other community resources (Samuels et al., 1995). The literature suggests that a community assessment is both a product and a process (Bruner et al., 1993). The product includes information about the community's current condition and its capacity to support and enhance the well being of its members. The process is one whereby community members collectively gain an understanding of community strengths and needs and become invested in working for change (Bruner et al., 1993). A community assessment provides the foundation for developing effective community programs and initiatives. It also provides a baseline of information which can be used to track changes in the community.