The United Way is preparing to survey 500 Davis County households by phone, query another 150 by mail and ask 300 human-services providers for their opinion as well, all to find the answer to one compelling question:

What do you need?The first-ever comprehensive needs assessment study for the county will be conducted during May and June by the Davis County Coalition for Health and Human Services, in conjunction with the United Way.

"We want to find out Davis County's needs and strengths," United Way project manager Elisa K. Pokral said. "The study is an investment in the Davis County community. . . . We are hopeful the outcome will be ongoing groups."

Survey organizers hope the information gathered will allow for more effective allocation of resources by the United Way, government agencies and nonprofit organizations within the county.

On May 12-14, 500 randomly selected households will be contacted by telephone and asked about such issues as crime, child care, family support, housing, medical care and teen programs.

The phone banks for the survey will be located at Layton's SPS Systems, the Davis County Sheriff's Office in Farmington and JC Penney Telemarketing in Bountiful.

Then, during May and June, 150 surveys will be mailed out to residents and another 300 will be sent to human-services providers.

The survey is based on a United Way survey questionnaire used in other areas of the nation. It has been modified for use in Davis County and has never before been used in Utah.

Ideally, the study will be updated every three years. Pokral said a brief study was conducted in Davis County a few years ago, but nothing this detailed has ever been done.

The phone survey will take about 20 minutes. Pokral said she hopes residents will be courteous to survey workers. The names of survey respondents will be kept confidential.

"We want to know what people think," she said.

Pokral isn't sure what the survey will reveal, but she suspects child care and education issues will be among the most interesting issues.

Focus groups this summer will study the results of the survey.

"The study will be important to many agencies and individuals in Davis County and the state of Utah," United Way of Davis County president Larry Burdett said.

The United Way of Davis County has a $1 million budget for 1998. That's up 8 percent over the previous year.

The United Way provides funding to 46 nonprofit agencies. These include the Family Connection Center, Davis County Food Bank, Davis County Coalition Against Violence and Davis Mental Health.

Volunteers are being sought to help with the survey. Training will be provided. Call 497-9111 for more information.

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Additional Information

Sample of questions

Here are some sample questions from the May 12-14 United Way survey planned in Davis County:

- Thinking about your community, what kind of place is it to live in? Would you describe it as: excellent, good, fair or poor?

- Have you volunteered in the past 12 months for an agency?

- Are you aware that Davis County has a volunteer center?

- Violence among members of the household, is this a major, moderate or minor problem or no problem at all?

- Are behavior or emotional problems among the children a major, minor or moderate problem or no problem at all?

- Is finding child care a major, moderate or minor problem or no problem at all?

- For your household over the past 12 months was housing in poor condition and in need of repairs? Was there enough money for basic needs, such as rent, utilities or food?