Windsor-Essex Pride Fest received a Resilient Communities grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to conduct a regional assessment of needs in the local 2-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, Intersex, and Asexual (2SLGBTQIA+) community. While this will help the Windsor-Essex Pride Fest provide better and more relevant programming, the ultimate vision is Windsor-Essex as a place where all members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community can thrive.
What is a needs assessment?
A needs assessment involves identifying needs or gaps between a current and desired state in order to make improvements. In simpler terms, a needs assessment helps us to determine what must be done to improve the current state.
In this case, the goal of the needs assessment is to improve the lives of 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in Windsor-Essex County. By learning more about needs and gaps from members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community, service providers, decision-makers, and other key stakeholders, through surveys, focus groups, interviews, and community consultations, this needs assessment will provide the building blocks to:
- Inform new or better services for 2SLGBTQIA+ identified residents,
- Address systemic inequity that impacts the 2SLGBTQIA+ community,
- Build networked capacity that supports providers offering services to 2SLGBTQIA+ community members, and
- ultimately, improve the lives and outcomes for members of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community.
The last formal 2SLGBTQIA+ needs assessment in Windsor-Essex was done more than a decade ago. However, the landscape has changed in recent years and Windsor-Essex Pride Fest feels the time is now for a comprehensive assessment to be completed.
- Research is clear that 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals are especially vulnerable and are at greater risk for poor health outcomes, loss of employment, lower income, financial insecurity, and losing access to safe and secure housing. COVID also had a significantly greater impact on 2SLGBTQIA+ individuals in these areas.
- Advocacy for trans and non-binary voices has been growing, as has awareness of discrimination faced by this community. There are significant identified gaps in programs and services for trans and non-binary individuals.
- Organizations, now more than ever and are expected to take concrete steps to create more diverse, equitable, and inclusive services and workplaces.
At the same time, the COVID-19 pandemic provided opportunities for many organizations to think differently about service delivery, fostering creative and innovative responses and a willingness to think beyond the commonplace and traditional.
All of this together makes a needs assessment timely and an excellent opportunity to take the next step in improving systemic supports for the 2SLGBTQIA+ community in Windsor-Essex.
How will the Needs Assessment work?
The Needs Assessment will occur from June 2022 to July 2023 in three main phases:
Building a strong foundation by creating a diverse Advisory Committee and defining the needs assessment scope.
Learning about the environment and key stakeholders, engaging with the community to identify needs, and analyzing the data gathered.
Validating findings, setting priorities, mobilizing decision-makers and planning for action.
How will the Needs Assessment change things?
Understanding needs is important but action is crucial. The final step of the needs assessment will focus on taking the priority needs and mobilizing decision-makers to take action for concrete change. We understand that people are tired of talking when no action results. Action planning with key decision-makers around the table will take needs to action and concrete change in the community.
How you can take part
There are a number of ways you can take part in the Needs Assessment:
- Apply to be on the Needs Assessment Advisory Committee
- Take part in a community consultation or focus group
- Spread the word about the needs assessment and encourage others to take part by completing the survey
- Tell us how you think you can help!