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Community Assessment Resources

Community Needs Assessment Tool

The CAAP Community Needs Assessment (CNA)

This comprehensive tool provides Pennsylvania's Community Action Agencies with the means to:
  1. capture information about their community;
  2. analyze the data;
  3. identify the current challenges that need to be addressed within the community.
Community Action Agencies are required by federal legislation to complete a community needs assessment every three years.
Conducting a Community Needs Assessment allows Community Action to be less reactionary and more visionary in our work within the communities.


Things To Know

CAAP Community Needs Assessment Tool is part of the Engagement Network hub for CAAP.

The Engagement Network is a data sharing interactional website owned and serviced by the tool’s original developer, the University of Missouri Center for Applied Research and Environmental Systems (CARES). The CAAP hub includes mapping features that can be used with or separate from the Community Needs Assessment report.

CAAP Community Needs Assessment Tool provides background information for the state and counties from over twenty data sources, including federal and state organizations. The CAAP Community Needs Assessment Tool allows agencies to query the database and create a document that serves as a community profile – the quantitative data portion of the needs assessment.  Only members of the Pennsylvania Community Action network may access it. 


The Tool was developed in partnership with the Missouri Community Action Network (MCAN), The Institute of People, Place and Possibility (IP3) and the University of Missouri CARES, under the guidance of a CAAP work group consisting of staff from local PA Community Action Agencies. The PA Department of Community and Economic Development (DCED) funded the acquisition and development. PA Community Action Agencies fund the annual maintenance of information supplied by CARES and the Pennsylvania State Data Center (PSDC). During December 2018, the system was migrated from IP3's Community Commons platform to CARES' Engagement Network platform.

Please contact Dan Leppo regarding any log-in or use questions, or if you have suggestions for additional database information the tool might provide.

Community Needs Assessment (CNA) Tool Work Group

If you are interested in joining a CNA work group to review the use of or improvements to the tool, please contact Dan Leppo. The group meets in a web meeting on a bi-monthly basis.

Community Needs Assessment (CNA) Resources

Getting the initial data report of the Community Profile is only the beginning of the Community Needs Assessment process. Once obtained, the data must be analyzed and needs, challenges, opportunities and resources identified to lay the groundwork for Community Action work plans and strategic planning. To that end, in addition to guiding the development of the Community Needs Assessment Tool, the CAAP work group compiled resources to aid agencies in completing their needs assessment.


Missouri Community Scale Survey

The Missouri Community Action Network developed a six-category list of questions to help guide agencies in conducting a more in-depth assessment survey. Each category provides a vast menu of question choices that agencies can add to their surveys. Results from survey questions provide agencies with a better understanding of their community, program performances, and insights for future endeavors.

Documents Available For Download