Randal Johnson, Executive Director
COUNCIL OF THE SOUTHERN MOUNTAINS
2011 ANNUAL REPORT
COMMUNITY NEEDS ASSESSMENT
MISSION STATEMENT, PHILOSOPHY, PROGRAM OBJECTIVES
The Council of Southern Mountains is a private non-profit corporation. The Council is a Community Action Agency that servesMcDowell County,West Virginia. The agency has been in operation since 1965, and is concerned with the general welfare of the citizens ofMcDowellCountyproviding quality programs, products, and services for carrying out the following purposes:
Programs have been established to assist in accomplishing these goals. The mission of The Council of the Southern Mountains is to develop, promote a broad-based, community driven methodology that will assure social competency and autonomy ofMcDowellCountyfamilies by:
The Council of the Southern Mountains services offers families with opportunities and support for growth and change, believing people can identify their own strengths, needs, and interests, and are capable of finding solutions.
The Council’s short term goals are:
The Council’s long term goals are:
McDowell encompasses 539.40 square miles of mountainous terrain and is the southernmost County inWest Virginia, bordering the state ofVirginia.
The State of West Virginia Department of Highways’ surface type mileage system shows thatMcDowellCountyhas roadways that are mountainous, constructed with elevations from 875 feet to 3,400 feet above sea level and with more than 90% having a slope of 40 degrees or more.
The county seat, Welch, is still the main center of educational, economic, political and civic activity. Unfortunately, the times and economy have changed in the County and most residents travel to neighboring counties and states for grocery, clothing, and major purchases. The coal industry is no longer the dominant industry or the principal employer in County or inWest Virginia. The population exodus from the County still continues today, as it has been for the last decade.
Much ofMcDowellCounty’s housing troubles arise from discrepancies in land ownership. Because the most developable land is owned by the railroads or coal companies, residential housing must locate on hills or around flood basins. Many of the homes and structures have been damaged or destroyed due to flooding.
Existing homes must be conserved and additional housing must be built that creates homeownership opportunities for low and moderate income families, subsidized/public housing for the poor and market rate unites for those who can bear such costs.
Transportation remains a concern considering that there are no major or four lane highways. The roads are narrow, two lane, and winding roads with many single-lane bridges. Some roads are impassable, graveled and rutted by the weather. These roads are considered orphan roads and maintained only by the residents living in the community.
In addition to the tough terrain of the mountains, extreme fuel costs cause hardships for all those with vehicles and those who must arrange transportation through other means.
The Council of Southern Mountains arranges through some programs, transportation for clients to appointments. Also, there is a dependable, affordable and accessible public transportation system. However, the routes are limited to certain areas of the County.
The County’s water, sewage, and solid waste facilities remain in poor condition. In all but a few areas, these facilities do not exist at all. Indeed, untreated wastewater is discharged into theTugForkRiver, the area’s major water source. A Wastewater Coalition has been formed to address water and sewage treatment in collaboration with the Presbyterian Church. This group is having a significant impact on improving the infrastructure of the County.
There are four major water;/sewage systems in the County- the City of Gary, the City of Bradshaw, the McDowell County PSD, and the city of Welch. In the Sandy River District of McDowell County, there are currently families that do not have adequate plumbing and sewage. They rely on natural springs and wells for their water source. In many of these homes, bathroom facilities are still not a fixture of the main living area.
V. ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES
The meager resources ofMcDowellCountycontinue to be strained by the economic crisis that has confrontedMcDowellCountyfor the past three decades. The decline in coal production, flooding, and the migration of population because of the unemployment rate at 8.1% as compared to the state at 5.8% has caused a decrease in resources and services available to the residents of the County. The top five employers in the County are:
Top Five Employers
McDowellCountyBoard of Education
Brooks Run Mining
With an unemployment rate of 8.1%, there are 6,500 people employed in the County. According to the West Virginia Bureau of Employment Programs this is an increase of 180 over the previous total of 6,320 in 2007. As shown in the table below, the employers with the highest average number employed include Service providing industry. The other areas include:
Type of Employment
Private Sector Providing
VI. POPULATION DECLINE
The population of the County has steadily declined. According to the 1970 U.S. Census, the population declined from 50,666 to 35,233 from 1960. The population further declined to 27,329 residents in the County in the year 2000. The United States Census Bureau reported that the population growth was behind the rest of the State by 22.4% while the statewide average loss was 0.8%. The U.S. Census Bureau reports a decrease again in the count population since 2000. The figure reported for 2010 is 22,991, a decrease of 5,216 people.
Please see the listing below for the latest Census Bureau statistics onMcDowellCounty:
State & County QuickFacts
People Quick Facts
Population, 2011 estimate
Population, percent change, 2000 to 2010
Persons under 5 years, percent, 2010
Persons under 18 years, percent, 2010
Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2010
Female persons, percent, 2010
White persons, percent, 2010 (a)
Black persons, percent, 2010 (a)
American Indian and Alaska Native persons, percent, 2010 (a)
Asian persons, percent, 2010 (a)
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, percent, 2010 (a)
Persons reporting two or more races, percent, 2010
Persons of Hispanic or Latino origin, percent, 2010 (b)
White persons not Hispanic, percent, 2010
Living in same house 1 year & over, 2006-2010
Foreign born persons, percent, 2006-2010
Language other than English spoken at home, pct. age 5+, 2006-2010
High school graduates, percent of persons age 25+, 2006-2010
Bachelor's degree or higher, pct. of persons age 25+, 2006-2010
Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16+, 2006-2010
Housing units, 2010
Homeownership rate, 2006-2010
Housing units in multi-unit structures, percent, 2006-2010
Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2006-2010
Persons per household, 2006-2010
Per capita money income in past 12 months (2010 dollars) 2006-2010
Median household income 2006-2010
Persons below poverty level, percent, 2006-2010
Business Quick Facts
Private nonfarm establishments, 2009
Private nonfarm employment, 2009
Private nonfarm employment, percent change 2000-2009
Nonemployer establishments, 2009
Total number of firms, 2007
Black-owned firms, percent, 2007
American Indian- and Alaska Native-owned firms, percent, 2007
Asian-owned firms, percent, 2007
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned firms, percent, 2007
Hispanic-owned firms, percent, 2007
Women-owned firms, percent, 2007
Manufacturers shipments, 2007 ($1000)
Merchant wholesaler sales, 2007 ($1000)
Retail sales, 2007 ($1000)
Retail sales per capita, 2007
Accommodation and food services sales, 2007 ($1000)
Building permits, 2010
Federal spending, 2009
Geography Quick Facts
Land area in square miles, 2010
Persons per square mile, 2010
Metropolitan or Micropolitan Statistical Area
1: Counties with 500 employees or less are excluded.
2: Includes data not distributed by county.
(a) Includes persons reporting only one race.
(b) Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories.
D: Suppressed to avoid disclosure of confidential information
F: Fewer than 100 firms
FN: Footnote on this item for this area in place of data
NA: Not available
S: Suppressed; does not meet publication standards
X: Not applicable
Z: Value greater than zero but less than half unit of measure shown
VII. POVERTY POPULATION
A majority ofMcDowellCountycitizens exist at or below the poverty level. The poverty level inMcDowellCountyis currently 32.4% compared to the State rate of 18.5%. The median family income forMcDowellCountyas of 2004 was $19,090 compared to the State average of $33,993. The percentage ofMcDowellCountyresidents living in poverty is currently 33% compared to the State poverty rate of 16.2%.
Given the County’s limited resources, education outcomes for residents of the county have not been encouraging. For example, of the County’s population age 25 and older, 50% have a high school education. The high school dropout rate forMcDowellCountywas 22.9% compared to the State average of 17.1%. As for higher education the 2000 Census showed college graduates 25 years and older at 5.6%.
According to Kids’ Count, the percentage of children living in poverty has risen from 21.9% in 2000 to 22.6% in 2006. The number of children approved for free and reduced price school meals is 84.6%.
VIII. HEALTH ISSUES
WelchCommunityHospital, a 124 bed facility, is the only provider of acute inpatient care. In addition toWelchCommunityHospital, Tug River Health Clinic provides health care to citizens ofMcDowellCountyat two locations and operates a fitness center. The County’s high rate of unemployment has caused a strain on health services as most health insurance coverage is provided by employers.
The State Department of Health and Human Resources released data showingMcDowellCountywas likely the least healthy county inWest Virginia. The county ranks first in the percentage of residents with diabetes, high cholesterol, arthritis, asthma, obesity, and lack of health insurance. Medicare and Medicaid resources are the sole insurance for many residents and therefore are absolutely necessary and vital to citizens’ quality of life. The adult obesity rate forMcDowellCountyis 30.4%. The percentage of adults without health insurance is 35.2%.
The Council of Southern Mountains currently offers Title XIX MR/DD Waiver services and Aged and Disabled Waiver services to McDowell and Mercer counties as funded by Medicaid. These services include transportation and self-help training for disabled citizens as well as in-home assistance. AsMcDowellCountyhas the highest percentage of senior citizens and people with disabilities, these programs are vital to meet their needs. The Aged and Disabled Program especially is aimed at keeping people in their homes and avoiding expensive nursing home placements.
IX. NEEDS OF COUNTY RESIDENTS
As based on a Community Needs Assessment instrument developed by the Council and distributed throughout the County, in addition to placement on the agency website and Survey Monkey, (copy of survey results attached) a listing of County needs follows:
Number One: Jobs paying a living wage. 65.8% of the survey respondents listed
this as the greatest need for this county.
Number Two: Jobs-Economic Development. 61.6% of respondents listed this as
one of the top five needs ofMcDowellCounty.
Number Three: Better Roads were listed third at 56.8%.
Number Four: Improved Educational System came in fourth at 54.1%.
Number Five: More after school/summer recreational programs for children at
In order to identify the next major community needs, the next five categories by percentage of respondents are listed below:
Number Six: Better Childcare at 34.9%.
Number Seven: Better Recreational Facilities at 32.9%
Number Eight: Improved Infrastructure (Water/Sewage Disposal) at 29.5%
Number Nine: Better/Affordable Housing was next listed at 24.7%
Number Ten: Summer Feeding Program for Youth at 16.4%
The remaining identified needs, by highest percentage were:
Number Eleven: Community Programs to Decrease Teen Pregnancies at 15.1%
Number Twelve: More Post Secondary (College) Classes in the County at 10.3%
Number Thirteen: Improved Cell Phone Reception (For Economic
Development) at 7.5 %
Number Fourteen: Programs to Decrease High School Drop-Out Rate at 4.8%
Number Fifteen: Tourism Initiatives at 2.7%
In regard to the five greatest needs of the individuals surveyed, the following were identified:
Number One: More Money to Help Support Family/Less Debt at 58.7%
Number Two: Better Health Care was answered by 56.6%
Number Three: A Better Job at 39.9%
Number Four: Better Public Transportation at 32.9%
Number Five: Personal Transportation (A Car) 32.2%
The next categories of personal identified needs include:
Number Six: Community Programs to Decrease Teen Pregnancies at 15.1%
Number Seven: More Post-Secondary (College) Classes at 10.3%
Number Eight: Improved Cell Phone Reception for Economic Development at
Number Nine: Programs to Decrease High School Drop-Out Rate at 4.8%
Number Ten: Tourism Initiatives for Economic Development at 2.7%. This
was the final category for individual needs measured.
X. NEEDS IDENTIFIED/NEEDS ADDRESSED
The Council of the Southern Mountains continues to provide training through several programs to interested individuals, in order to address some of the issues and concerns throughout the County. Classes for the Commercial Drivers’ License and Pharmacy Technician are offered at the agency’s Central Office facility. The topics expresses as major concerns include: jobs paying a living wage, economic development, better roads, more recreation programs for children, better recreational facilities, better childcare, improved infrastructure, better housing, and community programs to decrease teen pregnancies. The Council of the Southern Mountains provides information to families in the form of literature, workshops, websites, referrals to available resources through a modified case management intervention strategy.
Information and referrals are also mad available to the community which include, but are not limited to: public transportation, clothing, housing rehabilitation, adult education, housing assistance, tax assistance, utility assistance, family support, delinquency prevention, Had Start services, nutrition, disability assistance, financial management, and substance abuse prevention services.
XI. SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
Discussion groups, surveys to local elected officials, CSM Board members and the general public were utilized to develop this 2008 Community Needs Assessment. All the respondents were residents ofMcDowellCountyand the total number was 150. The respondents were 51% white with 46.3% being African American. A total of 44.7% are employed full-time as opposed to 6.7% working part-time. Of the total, 42.7% receive Social Security, 19.3% receive a pension and the same percentage receives Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Four percent were unemployed and less than 1% received Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF).
The percentage of high school graduates was 38.7% while 8.0% were college graduates. 21.3% did not graduate from high school and 2.7 percent had less than an eighth grade education. 3.3% had a graduate degree. 38.3% were married while 30.2% was single. 12.8% were divorced and 16.1% were widowed.
Within the survey group, 54.5% reported a bankruptcy, indicating the economic hardship of the area, while 45.5% reported raising their children in a single parent home. A very large percentage, 72.5% owns their own home while 16.9% rent. Only 2.1% live in public housing and 7.0% report living with family. A large percentage, 75%, report not receiving food stamps while surprisingly 53.3% report no need for weatherization of their homes, leaving 46.7 needing the help. Thirty percent had utilized a food pantry within the past 12 months and 21.3% report they do not have enough food to provide three meals per day in their homes.
In regard to health insurance, 34.7% have Medicare, indicating the age of the survey group, while 31.3 have employer provided insurance. Medicaid had a 19.7% while 6.8% report personal paid coverage. Of the group, 7.5% do not have type of coverage which was a surprising result. However, 61.7% report that at some point, they could not go to a doctor or dentist because they did not have the money.
In reference to financial inquiry, 84.4% presently have a checking account while 51.0% have a savings account. Of those that responded, 49% have a credit card with only 2.8% having filed for bankruptcy in the last 5 years. Again, due to the age percentage of the respondents and number unemployed, 28% did not file tax returns this year. Of those that did, 5.9% file the traditional paper return, 8.5% do their taxes on-line, 20.3% have a friend or relative filing assistance and 24.6% pay a tax preparer to complete their tax returns. Only 12.7% go to a free tax service.
Not surprisingly, due to the percentage of older adults completing the survey and the rate of unemployment and lack of training programs, 90.2% of the respondents Do Not Use Childcare. Of those that did, 56.3% rated their childcare as reliable. Of those that work and utilize childcare, 58.2% related they Stay Home when their children are sick, jeopardizing their employment. In response to what was the most important factor in choosing childcare providers, the response was equally divided, 38.5% between affordability and location.
With present energy costs for home heating skyrocketing, a surprising 88.9% received help last winter to pay for their fuel costs. 31.1% related they had received assistance with their other utility bills as well, i.e., water, sewage, telephone, etc.
People reported by 76.4% margin that their most frequent form of travel was their own car. 87.0% reported their vehicles in working condition yet 75.8% reported some problems with transportation to do grocery shopping, 57.6% to visit doctors/dentists, 45.5% with attending church while only 15.2% had problems getting to work with 12.1 relating maladies with attending school.
In regard to accessing available resources, only 3.1% had called 2-1-1 in the last year meaning 96.9 had no knowledge of the service. Of those that did access the system, 50% accessed the service 6 or more times. The following also links with information access 63.6% have a computer at home and 61.4% percent have access to the internet. Again, passed on the demographics of the survey, a surprising number of 72.4% only used the internet at home while 19.7% used it at work and 7.9% accessed the internet at their local library. A large majority related they used the internet for information/news, 85.5% while 49.4% acknowledged they had used the internet for educational/on-line courses. 32.5% used the web for shopping and 49.4% for entertainment.
Of those surveyed, 79.3% are registered to vote while 63.2% actually voted within the last year.
Finally, the respondents that reported utilizing Council of the Southern Mountains services in the past, the following was shown:
The final part of the survey asked if people would like to have assistance or learn more about services at the Council of the Southern Mountains, 100% of the respondents entered their name, city and state.
XII. ADDRESSING THE NEEDS OF MCDOWELL COUNTY FAMILIES
The Council of the Southern Mountains is available to assist families with their individual needs. Various programs are offered to citizens inMcDowellCountyand some neighboring counties.
The Council of Southern Mountains currently offers programs that assist families with educational opportunities, emergency services including utility assistance and food, tax assistance, summer youth activity programs, income enhancement services, wholesale and co-op programs, weatherization, nutrition, mentoring for at risk youth, disaster preparedness, independent living services, aged and disabled Medicaid services and senior services. These services continue to enhance the lives ofMcDowellCountyfamilies. Collaborations have been made with other agencies, including faith based and other service providers to provide services to citizens that are not offered by the Council of Southern Mountains.
The results of this Community Needs Assessment will be the basis for the upcoming Strategic Plan Board of Directors Retreat to be scheduled this fall.
The following is a list of locations providing possible trainings and/or counseling programs for individuals through agency programs and/or collaborators:
Job Readiness Skills
Job Search/ Career Counseling
Breast/Cervical Cancer Prevention
Teen Pregnancy Prevention
Child Care Certification
The following is a list of location providing possible trainings and/or counseling programs for individuals:
The Council of the Southern Mountains
McDowellCountyAdult Basic Education Program
Stop Abusive Family Environments, Inc.
Southern Highlands MentalHealthCenter
Southern West Virginia Community andTechnicalCollege
The Council of Southern Mountains provides quality programs and makes a difference in the County. To meet the needs of the changing society and the population shift, the agency continues to strive to fill in the gaps to meet the needs ofMcDowellCountycitizens through direct services and referrals to other agencies. The agency motto of: “Bringing Opportunities Within Reach” has never been more appropriate as multiple factors are negatively affecting our community. The Council staff and Board will forever strive to positive outcomes to those seeking the dignity of self-sufficiency.
SOURCES OF DATA/INFORMATION
West Virginia Bureau of Employment Programs
The Council of the Southern Mountains
West Virginia Kids’ Count Data-County Profiles of Child Well Being
McDowell County FACES Family Resource Network
US Census Bureau
Workforce West Virginia