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Human Needs

Ensuring Well-being and Dignity for All: A Focus on Human Needs in Washington County

Human Needs organizations in Washington County improve the lives of adults and children through an array of programs and services. These groups support the needs of vulnerable populations and promote social welfare policies.


Human Needs organizations address critical issues including safe and affordable housing, health care, mental health services, disability support, aging services, social and criminal justice, immigration services, job training and employment support, food insecurity, homelessness, education, livable wages, addiction services, safety and security, poverty, and basic necessities.

The New York Times recently reported that after two years of historically large declines in the poverty rate, the share of Americans living in poverty made its largest single-year jump on record last year, because of rising prices and expiring pandemic aid programs. 

The overall poverty rate rose from 7.8 percent in 2021 to 12.4 percent in 2022, while the rate of child poverty more than doubled, to 12.4 percent, with the end of the expanded child tax credit.

According to the Observer Reporter and the Washington County Corner’s annual report, drug overdose deaths declined in Washington County in 2022, with 88, compared to 106 drug-related deaths in 2021. But still over double the number of deaths in 2012, with 36.


  • Community Support
  • Children’s Services
  • Collaboration
  • Educational Opportunities
  • Behavioral Health Services
  • Women’s Services
  • Home Services
  • Substance Abuse Services
  • Early Intervention Services
  • Innovative Programs
  • Strong Organizations
  • Virtual Counseling
  • Technological Advances
  • Assistance from Faith-Based Organizations


Broadening awareness of available programs is an issue. Transportation is often a barrier for the people that need these services. Transitioning clients from virtual to in-person classes has been challenging coming out of the pandemic. Organizational budgets, capacity, and competition for funding impact the services that can be provided. In turn, this also affects employee salaries and benefits, which leads to employee turnover. Salary and benefit levels also create challenges in recruiting and training the next generation of social service workers. Childcare, or lack thereof, can be a deterrent. Staff and budget challenges create a waiting list for services. More volunteers are needed. The issues and clients that are dealt with daily takes an emotional toll on volunteers and staff. Collaborations with smaller organizations can be difficult. Tracking services across providers and identifying gaps is needed for efficient and effective programs. There is abuse of the system. State benefits can limit options and create unnecessary hardships.

Members of the focus group believe that Washington County would do well to collaborate more to address these various challenging and difficult issues. As the demand for services continues to increase for children, adults and seniors in Washington County, Human Needs organizations must build capacity and adapt to the needs of their clients.

As the government continues to focus on social determinants of health (SDOH), these factors can have a major impact on people’s health, well-being, and quality of life. Examples of SDOH include:

  • Safe housing, transportation, and neighborhoods
  • Racism, discrimination, and violence
  • Education, job opportunities, and income
  • Access to nutritious foods and physical activity opportunities
  • Polluted air and water
  • Language and literacy skills

Participating Nonprofits

Washington County Nonprofits

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