School of Public Policy Capstones

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The Pathways out of Poverty Needs Assessment Survey is a project undertaken to provide the first mixed-methods evaluation of the critical needs and issues affecting low-income single mothers in Amherst, MA. This analysis seeks to aid community-based social service organizations, local government officials, and other stakeholders to specifically focus on and thus better allocate intervention and support services to low-income single mothers in need in Amherst and neighboring towns. The survey evaluates current needs and challenges experienced by low-income single mothers, current supports and services they utilize, and service gaps and barriers they experience in accessing help. It also examines feedback low-income single mothers have on how to improve community services and supports and ideas they have on how to more effectively move forward in overcoming poverty.

The data collection procedure for the Pathways out of Poverty Needs Assessment Survey consisted of conducting individual face-to-face surveys with respondents. A network approach was the primary method of locating and recruiting participants which consisted of doing concerted outreach to social service providers in Amherst and neighboring towns that work directly or indirectly with low income mothers. Additionally, outreach materials were posted in numerous community locations and spaces in Amherst.