Search form

Section 1. Developing a Plan for Assessing Local Needs and Resources

Example 1: Road to the Community Plan

In the summer of 2013, the Macalester-Groveland Community Council (MGCC) initiated their Community Plan process. Their primary goal was to effectively engage the community and accurately reflect their interests in the plan. The leaders of the Community Council recognized that they needed to be strategic about their engagement and provide opportunities for underrepresented groups to be engaged.

Additionally, the City of Saint Paul was interested in assisting district councils to understand the elements of the plan, to make the review and approval process more efficient, and to derive a plan that the community can use to steward future development.

Thus, this project is a collaboration between MGCC and the City of Saint Paul to create a road map that illustrates key steps as a guide for communities to reference as they embark on their community plan process.

The information on the ‘Road Map’ and this ‘Companion Guide’ is a result of research conducted through a literature review of community planning best practices and plan elements, focus group interviews of district council staff, individual interviews of community organizations and personal observations of MGCC leadership meetings. This Companion Guide also includes documentation of the aforementioned process and will be of particular interest to district councils and community members seeking additional information.

This document is intended to offer best practices and insights to guide the conversation between district councils and their respective communities as they develop their own unique approaches to the community plan. Users are encouraged to interpret and utilize these tools as they see fit.

Author: Andrew Tran

Sponsor: Conducted on behalf of Macalester-Groveland Community Council and the City of Saint Paul Supported by the Kris Nelson Community-Based Research Program, a program of the Center for Urban and Regional Affairs (CURA) at the University of Minnesota.

Example 2: 2020 Behavioral Health Needs Assessment

Cover of the 2020 Behavioral Health Needs Assessment


The Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS), Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) partnered with Health Management Associates, Inc. (HMA) to conduct a statewide behavioral health needs assessment. 

The purpose of the assessment is to be responsive to the requirements of the state’s Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) block grants and to inform a long-term strategic plan for addressing the current and projected behavioral health needs of Coloradans. Read more.

The 2020 needs assessment comprises several documents:

  • The Snapshot Report, which provides quick takeaways from the study; 
  • The Main Summary, which reviews findings in more detail;  
  • The State of the State Report, which covers behavioral health demand in Colorado and outlines strengths and weaknesses of our current system;
  • Priority Population Briefs, which break down specific needs and considerations for 13 groups that have historically faced barriers to behavioral health care, including Coloradans of Color, individuals with developmental disabilities, LGBTQ+ Coloradans and many more; and
  • Regional Profiles, which map out the state’s behavioral health landscape across seven areas.