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Community Assessment Project Paper

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Community Assessment Project for Bloomington, Indiana
The community assessment project of Bloomington city, Indiana, seeks to explore the community in relation to its landscape, population, health, resources, and its deficits amongst other benchmarks. The study will look into various health needs and achievements according to the Healthy People initiative for the year 2020.With health being a very important part of life, the focus on Bloomington’s health in regard to HIV/AIDS and Alzheimer disease will be a priority. The education system will be another area of interest in the study and it will seek to investigate how education is offered and distributed in this city. The housing system is also important in this study and it will seek to find out the types of houses represented in this city, if they are public housing units or single homes. The spacing between the houses, the conditions of the housing system and the spaces will all be important in assessing Bloomington city. For the deficits and shortcomings that will be identified in the assessment, the assessment will seek to give a response to the situation and offer recommendations on the ideal measures that should be undertaken to overcome the shortcomings of Bloomington City (Vuchic, 2007).

Bloomington is a city located in Monroe County of the southern part of Indiana State. Bloomington is popularly known as the gateway to the scene in Southern Indiana. It ranks 6th in terms of largest city in Indiana and this size is in regard to its high population density. The population of Bloomington as at the 2010 census stands at 80,405, though it is expected to have grown gradually through the two year-period that has elapsed. The name Bloomington arises from the city’s sceneries and geographical location which reveals all its components and the beauty of Indiana State. The city was initially established by settlers from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and Carolina in 1818. These settlers were amazed and captivated by the numerous blooms in the city and thus named it Bloomington. Since its establishment in the early nineteenth century, Bloomington has undergone numerous changes that have made it one of the most blooming cities in the US. One of the city`s heritage is the Indiana University Bloomington which was started in 1820 to provide the educational needs of students from Indiana and other states. This facility has a capacity of over 40,000 students sitting for different courses. The campus has been named amongst the top five beautiful universities in the United States of America.

Bloomington has an abundant rainfall reception of about 45 inches per annum. The month of July experiences slightly higher levels of rainfall as compared to other months. The city sits on an area of 23.36 square miles which are equated to 60.5 square km. The water bodies take only 0.2 square miles of the total land in the city, leaving the rest of the area to dry land. The geological constitution of this scenic city is made up of limestone terrain which is mostly irregular (O’Sullivan, 1980). This terrain is characterized by ravines, fissures, underground streams and caves. The city is placed in the rolling Indiana hills and it rests in the junction of Norman Uplands and Mitchell plains. This terrain is a bit different from the Northern and Eastern parts of Indiana and it makes Bloomington’s terrain special.

Windshield survey
The windshield survey of Bloomington city reveals various aspects of living and cultures from this city. The community is rich in culture and is a hub of activities that are related to economic growth, lifestyle and even religion. Education is evident in Bloomington city and thus the city has attempted through all means to eradicate ignorance though education. A walk around the city reveals that the State government has made efforts to provide its residents with basic necessities through a well-channeled water and sanitation system. These amongst others are the benchmarks of Bloomington city being a haven of bloom and glamour.

The neighborhoods in Bloomington are different in ages since there are public housing units that were built in the late sixties while there are modern houses that have been erected by private owners and institutions. The architecture is satisfactorily good though the modern houses surpass the old housing units with their new designs and architectural advancement (Visitors bureau, 1991). The materials used in the modern housing units are also different from those used in the older houses and this is owed to the manufacture of latest materials which display more color and elegance. The materials used in the modern housing units are therefore used for beauty and functional reasons as opposed to the materials in older buildings. The houses found in the suburbs of the city are built slightly far from each other and this provides privacy for the dwellers of these houses. This means that every occupant has their own compound though they live in the same area with their neighbors (O’Sullivan, 1980).

Bloomington City is well represented by a good housing landscape of standard housing units from both the private and public sector. A touch of sophistication and elegance is seen through the windshield survey of the city. The Bloomington Housing Authority is the body that is responsible for providing affordable housing facilities to the residents of Bloomington city. The BHA achieves this initiative of providing affordable housing by providing public funds to enable the residents to acquire a decent home (Haskell, 2006). The BHA also gives supportive services that are aimed at fostering self reliance and stability that in turn leads to self stability. The BHA ensures that its mission is achieved by forming creative partnerships with its members professionally and with honor.

The BHA embarked on a project which was aimed at bringing transformation to the housing network of Bloomington and it began by rehabilitating the already available housing units. This initiative focused on the most affordable units which were adopted by many Bloomington residents who could not afford high-cost housing units. This project was laying emphasis on issues of providing quality life and creating noble houses for children and adults to live in. The overall function and duty of BHA reflects an attractive and beautiful community which has a diversity of character and is full of life. The redevelopment initiatives by BHA have achieved in instilling a sense of pride in every member of the Bloomington community through service and dedication.

The BHA was formed in 1961 and seven years after its establishment there were affordable housing units ready for the Bloomington community members. The BHA has today provided housing solutions to over 2,500 individuals and families annually. The housing communities have different housing Vouchers like the Section 8 which can allow able families to rent houses from the private sector. There are programs like the Family Self Sufficiency program that enables families to acquire houses cheaply and conveniently. The section 8 management assessment program awarded BHA a 100% score in performing excellently in assisting more families to acquire and lease housing units of their choice and from different private investors. The effort by the BHA and personal efforts by the Bloomington society members has enabled the city to cater for its residents’ shelter needs and to promote dependency and self-sufficiency.

The issue of health in Bloomington has been widely been addressed and the community seems to be aware of the importance of maintaining good health. One indication of observation of health is the presence of the Indiana University Health Bloomington Hospital Community Health which provides a variety of healthcare solutions to the community. This health facility has attained this success by offering health programs to people at their work places and to students in different learning institutions. These programs address the issues of HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, healthy aging tips amongst other health concerns. Another achievement of the health department in Bloomington city is the push for passing of laws that demand that all children below 8 years should travel in a safety restraint whenever they are in a car. This helps in the observation of health in case of any accident (O’Sullivan, 1980).

The Indiana University health hospital has two outlets; one is located in South College Avenue while the other is in East Miller drive. The two outlets work together to ensure that the residents of the city are attended to accordingly and they receive all the knowledge and treatment that they deserve (Black &Nijkamp, 2002). The community health needs assessment has been amongst the goals in this and other medical facilities in Bloomington city. This initiative seeks to find out the needs of the community and implement ways of satisfying those needs. The implementation process goes hand-in-hand with the Healthy People initiative 2020.

The Healthy People initiative’s aim is to provide a long-term objective of enriching the health of the Bloomington community by looking at health requirements. The initiative has a number of goals, among them encouraging collaboration of various communities in observing healthy living. The Healthy People initiative also plays a role in empowerment of individuals and enabling them to make the right decisions with regard to their health. It takes a measurement of the effect of the activities that prevent diseases and destabilizes physical fitness. One of the initiative’s main goals is to identify national priorities that are aimed at the improvement of the health of the Bloomington community. The main health indicators of Healthy People include the improvement of the overall health of Bloomington and the entire American Population in every 10 years (New, 1949). The Healthy People initiatives are expected to reach the entire US community efficiently and in an easy manner. The Healthy People initiative thus has the duty of ensuring that it meets their targets by monitoring the achievement of different health practices. Bloomington`s health sector intends to follow a guideline by the healthy people which it includes in its 2020 health agenda.

One of the achievements of the Healthy People initiative in Bloomington is that it has recorded a lot of progress and achievement of its objectives. This program has addressed the most important health issues in Bloomington and appropriate measures have been taken to tackle the existing challenges. There has been an increase in the rate of life expectancy at birth. The number of deaths resulting from coronary disease has decreased since people have adopted lifestyles that suppress the condition and manage it where present. The healthy ageing formula is helpful to older members of the society and their caregivers since it has equipped the Bloomington community in optimizing on the essence of life of the senior members of the community.

Among the major hospitals in Bloomington are Monroe hospital and the Bloomington hospital. Both the Bloomington and Monroe hospitals are non-profit institutions that offer acute care services to the residents. There are also several small health centers in Bloomington, which cater for the health needs of residents. The Andry Medical Services is located in Park Ridge, and run by Andry James. The Nashville Family Medicine is run by Alessi John and is located in Nashville. The Monroe Provider Network is located in Landmark Avenue in Bloomington. The Community Health and Wellness Center in Bedford also caters for the health needs of the Bloomington population. These are just some of the many health facilities in the area. Bloomington has a number of clinics, health centers, hospitals and doctors to take care of the health of the residents.

Education in Monroe
The city of Bloomington has a number of colleges, which include the University of Bloomington. It is located in south Indiana. The Ivy Tech Community College is located in Daniels way and the Hair Arts Academy is located in Walnut. Other nearby colleges include DePauw university, the university of Indianapolis, Indiana university and Butler university. Bloomington has a number of high schools, among them Bloomington High South School in Walnut, Bloomington High North School in Kinser Pike, Lighthouse Christian Academy School on That Rd, Aurora Alternative School and Harmony School.

Social Services in Bloomington
Bloomington city has a number of social services that are aimed at improving the lives of the residents in the city. The city has alcoholic and drug recovery centers whereby people with alcohol and drug addiction can go and get help on how to overcome the addiction. Among these centers is The Amethyst House Addiction Treatment Center in Bloomington, which helps drug addicts in the recovery process from addiction (The Bloomington Alternative, 2012). The American Red Cross Monroe County chapter is in the city to help in emergency situations. Area 10 agency on Aging helps the senior members of society in their old age. The Community Justice and Mediation Center is used in solving conflicts that may exist between different members of the community. The Crisis Pregnancy Center of Bloomington is set in the area to help mothers who have problems with their pregnancy, for instance teenage mothers who may also be involved in drugs or have no finances to help in their delivery process (The Bloomington Alternative, 2012). The Indiana Institute on Disability and Community is important in helping people who are disabled in the community to access some services and any help available. The Volunteer Network of Bloomington helps to bring together different people in the community who are willing to volunteer finances and resources to help in the development of the community and its people (The Bloomington Alternative, 2012).

Spiritual Healers
Bloomington has a number of spiritual healers who help the community when it comes to spiritual matters. The Life after Paranormal Society in Bloomington for instance is responsible for answering questions regarding paranormal activities in the areas. There are a number of psychics in the area who are able to view paranormal activities and even to communicate with the spirits of the dead.

Bloomington area also has a number of religious organizations that help the residents of Bloomington in their religious activities. The area has Christian organizations, Islamic organizations and all other forms of religions. There is freedom of worship and choosing religion, hence people can follow whichever religion they feel like.

The transport system of the city has been simplified by the good road and railway network. There is presence of two airports namely the Monroe County Airport which does not offer commercial flights. The other airport is Indianapolis International Airport which is the nearest airport that offers commercial services; it is located 80 km from Bloomington city. Bloomington doesn’t have an Interstate Freeway Expressway but it has five major highways namely SR 37, SR 45, SR 46, SR 48, and SR 446. SR 37 is a four lane highway that connects Indianapolis and Bloomington. This highway has four interchanges and a single traffic light in the city’s limits (Lewis, 2011). An interstate access of the city is not very distant from the metropolitan and the Interstate 69 expansion from Indianapolis to Evansville is expected to open up new transport ventures. The area between Bloomington and Evansville is scheduled to be completed by 2014 and it will open up travel through US 231 which is 25 miles towards South of the town. The bypass which will connect SR 45 and SR 46 will run between Bloomington together on a four-lane highway and it will open up traffic and ease congestion to and from these cities.

Different bus services offer transport to different destinations including airports, up-country, and even other states (Indiana University et al, 1966). Some buses operate on hourly basis while others operate on specific days if the destinations are long-distances. Some bus services like Catch-A-Ride offer transportation to students and other passengers who are travelling to Chicago railway stations and others who are going for holidays and semester breaks.

There are several bus services that offer public transportation to the residents of the city and commuters who use the services on a daily basis. Examples of these bus services are the GO Express Travel, Rural Transit, and Catch-A-train amongst others.

The light rail transport system is available to passengers using the metropolitan transit. This method of transport operates for twenty hours in a day and thus it is very reliable to its passengers. The light rail offers quiet and fast transportation services which pass through Bloomington and five other light rail stations in Minneapolis, Mall of America and St. Paul international Airport. There will be changes in 2014 where the Metro Transit Green Line will be upgraded to provide more effective and quicker services to its customers.

Bicycles are a common mode of transportation in the city. The city provides safe parking for the bicycles, and also safe places to ride the bicycles. This encourages people to use bicycles. Bloomington city also has a number of taxi services that are offered by taxi companies to help transport people to different parts of the city. Those who do not intend to use cabs have the option of hiring cars for use for a certain duration of time. There are several car rental services in the region and therefore residents have a variety to choose from.

Bloomington Population
As at 1st January 2012, the Bloomington, Indiana population was about 81,963. 50.3% of this population is made of males and 49.7% females. The median resident age in Bloomington as at 2012 was 23.3 years. The average household income was about $24,126 in 2012.
Table of Bloomington and Indiana census analysis (US Census, 2013)

Bloomington Nickname
Bloomington’s nickname is B-Town. This name is more especially common among university students who have the name B-Town printed on their T-shirts.

Shopping Centers in Bloomington
There are a number of shopping malls in Bloomington in which residents shop for their items. Each section of the city has some malls, making it easier for residents to shop without necessarily having to travel long distances. The college mall is located on 2894 E. 3rd street (Bloomington Indiana, 2012). The mall has restaurants in which residents can buy their food. It also has shops in which various items can be bought. Downtown Bloomington Inc. is a mall located on 302 south college avenue. Edinburgh Premium Outlets is located on I-65 to exit 76 B. The Fountain Square Mall is on 101 West Kirkwood Avenue. These are just a few of the many shopping malls located in Bloomington. Most people use their cars to shop, while others use public means and still there are those who walk to malls that are in close proximity to their homes.

Bloomington city also has groceries, which include the Sahara Mart which is located on 3rd street, the Great Wall Chinese restaurants which comprise of groceries and restaurants and the Lakeside Market which has supermarkets and groceries.

Open Space in Bloomington
The city of Bloomington is green with most houses having grass around them. Most houses have lawns and flower boxes, which help to make the city look beautiful. There are also trees in the city that help to make the city green with fresh air. There are open spaces in the city in which people can go and have a picnic or some rest. Some open spaces within the metropolitan have been rehabilitated and used for special games for children where parents pay for the children and they can play different games for fun. The parks used for children`s games have been transformed into green parks which are friendly to the environment and to the human beings too.

The city of Bloomington has several parks where people can go and have a rest and enjoy the ambience and fresh air. The Rev. Ernest Butler Park is located on 9th street in Bloomington. Other parks include the Bryan Park, Twin Lakes Sports Park, the Building Trades Park and the Dunn Meadow Park. These are just some of the many parks in which residents and visitors of Bloomington visit to enjoy some fresh air.

Street People
The streets are many a time made of youths, who make the highest percentage of residents of Bloomington. The homeless people and unemployed youths are also occasionally seen roaming the streets. Most of these youths also use drugs and alcohol to pass time as they are idle. Door to door sales people and religious people also do come to the houses once in a while to spread their different messages to the residents. Residents can also be seen on the streets walking their dogs, more especially in the evenings.

Signs of Decay
The city has some issues when it comes to lawlessness from idle and unemployed youths who use alcohol and drugs. However, most of the residents are law abiding, and this makes the city really good and friendly despite the few hitches here and there. The city is on a good path.

Gathering Places
The Bloomington community has a number of gathering places, among them being the Indiana Memorial Union, which has served the community since 1909. Other gathering facilities include the Bloomington Convention Center in College Avenue, the Chapman’s Restaurant and Banquet Facility, Courtyard by Marriot, Eagle Pointe Golf Resort and Fourwinds Resort and Marina (Bloomington Indiana, 2012). The meeting facilities are used by people of different social classes. Some places are more expensive than others; hence the choice of the place to gather is based on the social class of the people that want to meet.

The Democratic Party seems to have more power in the city, having managed to maintain the office of the mayor from 1972. The Indiana University’s student body is largely liberal. A high population of the people in Bloomington is young, hence the reason for the high influence of liberals in the city.

Racial segregation
Although progress has been made in the fight against racism, there still exist cases of racial segregation in Bloomington. Some schools still have children from a certain race, while Blacks and Latinos tend to attend schools comprised of the minority students. The same applies to religion, in which case most Blacks tend to go to churches comprised primarily of Blacks. This could be because in those churches, they get a sense of belonging and feel more appreciated.

Communication in Bloomington
There are many forms of communication that are used in the city. The city gets supplies of newspapers every morning, which most residents buy to get news on the events happening in the country. Residents also have radios and television sets through which they get information. The city has an emergency number which they can call at any time to report any emergencies, e.g. if there is a need for an ambulance or if someone is in danger. Television sets are the most common form of communication that are used in the city.

State of the Community
The Bloomington community has experienced a lot of growth with the increase in the number of new houses that are coming up. Roads have been renovated and look better. The police force is always available and ready to handle any issues that may arise in the city. However, there are still some small issues when it comes to security, which the city needs to address. Sometimes the police may not be able to handle all security threats in the city, but they have to do everything possible to ensure that residents are assured of a secure environment.

The health statistics on health on the table above indicate that in Monroe, the number of births in 2011 was 1,286 for adults and 92 to teenagers. This is more than 7% of births to teenage girls. This is a major concern because the implication is that quite a high number of teenagers are involved in sex without using any form of protection. The community therefore is in a dilemma because there is a high chance that the teenagers may get infected with sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The percentage of teenagers involved in sex is definitely higher than the 7% of those who get pregnant. The community therefore needs to address the issues of teenagers and sexual relations. It also needs to look at the factors that contribute to the teenagers getting involved in sex, like drugs, rapes and peer pressure.

Population Characteristics
The percentage of people in Bloomington with a bachelors degree or higher is 54.8%. This implies that quite a high number of people are high school dropouts. Being high school dropouts implies that the residents cannot get the best jobs available, and they are hence limited to part time jobs or basic forms of employment that do not pay very well. If this continues, there is a high likelihood that the community will lack people to do more specialized jobs like nursing, teaching and engineering. It is therefore important to encourage youths to take up college education.

The percentage of whites in Bloomington is 88%, while other races make up 12%. The number of other races has been increasing over time, and this implies that with time the number of non-whites will be higher than it is. It is therefore important for the community to put in place measures that can help bring to an end any forms of racial segregation. Any forms of racial abuse may result in hatred and confrontations in the community. For Bloomington to have a good future and lower its crime rates, the authorities should step up and ensure that any forms of racial segregation are avoided and people advised to embrace diversity.

The religious systems in Bloomington embrace all the people of different ages, races and social classes. Bloomington has different types of religions, although most of the people embrace Christianity. The religious systems do not discriminate their members irrespective of how they look like, their educational status, political stand and social status in the community. However, there are some people who intentionally group themselves in religions in which there are people who look like them both racially and in social class. Most people feel comfortable going to churches in which they are more recognized and appreciated, hence the reason why some religious organizations have members of certain races or class. Religion in Bloomington brings together the different people in the community; hence it can be used to fight vices like racism.

Bloomington has efficient communication systems like televisions, radios and emergency modes of communication to the police. This helps the community have an idea of what is going on at any given time, and also to call for help if need be. The city also has recreational facilities and meeting places where people can meet and get entertainment. The places are always open to all members of the community, and this is a uniting factor which is essential for the community. The transport systems in the city are available and friendly to all residents. There are public means of transport through buses, airplanes and trains. Residents can also use bicycles in the city to avoid traffic. Inside most colleges, use of bicycles is advised as it makes movement faster.

Problem Identification and Planning
The city has a high number of teenagers getting pregnant, and this is a worrying trend. The causes of the problem are use of drugs and alcohol among teenagers, peer influence and lack of guidance from parents and teachers. The consequences of teenage pregnancy include dropout from school, resulting in poor education and hence unemployment. Unemployment in the end results in involvement in criminal activities. Teenage pregnancy affects all members of the community starting from the parents of the teenagers, their friends and the community at large. The healthy people 2020 has goals on adolescent health, which aim to help the adolescents understand the need to take good health of themselves, which includes taking care of their sexuality. The topics on family planning and substance abuse also aim at giving guidance to teenagers and more especially on their sexuality. The article by the Bloomington Hospital on teen pregnancy shows its concern with teen pregnancy, more especially when it comes to the teens leaving school and being on welfare (Bloomington Hospital, 2012).

Summary and Evaluation
The community of Bloomington is friendly and united with a good environment and facilities to cater for the needs of every resident. The health of the residents is a priority, and this can be seen by the many measures put in place to ensure that the residents’ health is taken care of. There are many hospitals and other smaller health facilities to help residents access their health needs. More than 90% of the residents in Bloomington have high school education, which implies that almost every individual has an education. Although the percentage of residents with college education is much lower, at 54%, the fact that most residents have high school education implies that most people are literate. The population of the city is comprised of different races, with Whites being 88% and other races taking 12% of the population. The city has various religions which have members from different classes, ages and races. This makes the members feel the sense of equality and appreciation regardless of their social class or race. The Democratic Party has more power in Bloomington, but there are Republicans and other party members in the city. The poverty index is high in Bloomington, with a percentage of more than 20%, which implies that the area needs to address the issue of unemployment, education and poverty. All in all, Bloomington is a great place to stay.

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