Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations (ACHSO)
Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations (ACHSO), a joint project between ACT and the City of Alexandria's Department of Human Services, brings together high-level city and nonprofit agencies to benefit the entire Alexandria community. The result is an innovative and integrated human services model. The Council meets on a quarterly basis and its members work together in order to expand existing resources and develop new services, while working to deliver "one vision and one voice" for human services in Alexandria.
Affordable housing, early childhood education, teen pregnancy, afterschool programs - the challenges facing our communities are numerous. But how do you figure out the key needs, priorities, how to best address them and who needs to be involved? ACT and the city of Alexandria now have a road map for addressing emerging needs - a 2008 Community Needs Assessment report just completed through the Alexandria Council of Human Service Organizations (ACHSO).
The Alexandria Council of Human Services Organizations was created in 2006 by ACT and Alexandria's Department of Human Services, in response to a request by nonprofits and city agencies to create a forum to network, share best practices, build relationships and provide resources. One of the first recommendations was to provide a collective assessment of Alexandria - a 'cradle to gray' look to serve as a baseline for addressing emerging needs. The six-month assessment process began in October 2007, funded by ACHSO, the Starr Foundation, ACT, the Alexandria City Public Schools, Alexandria's Department of Human Services, and Smart Beginnings - Alexandria/Arlington.
The resulting 98- page report offers key insights into community needs and shares strategic cross-cutting recommendations, as well as opportunities within ages and stages and locations in Alexandria.
- Lack of knowledge and access to what resources exist in Alexandria;
- High degree of dependency on a limited array of funding sources for nonprofits providing human services support;
- Need for co-location of services by multiple agencies to create a 'system of care' approach in communities across Alexandria;
- Improve the educational skills of parents to support and strengthen their families;
- Streamline collaborative and planning groups and commissions addressing human services issues; and
- Challenges related to affordable housing, transportation and cultural diversity/language for those in need of services.
For more information, please visit: www.alexandriaserves.org.
View the release of the 2008 Alexandria Human Services Needs Assessment from the Alexandria Gazette Packet, August 7, 2008 article, "First Time Community Assessment Report."
Or, view the full report, "A Snapshot of Human Development: A Community Assessment of the Alexandria Human Service System."