The United Way might expand its services in Columbia County, and it is using an online survey to determine the extent of that expansion.
The survey, available on the county's Web site at www.columbiacountga.gov and the United Way's Web site, www.uwcsra.org, asks users to rate the need for improvement on such issues as education, homelessness, crime, illiteracy, drugs, economic development and unemployment.
"In order for us to be able to provide the appropriate service that is needed out there, we need to know what (the need) is and where that is," said United Way of the CSRA President LaVerne Gold.
"It could be that we'll open a satellite office there and have multiple services that we offer in Richmond County. We might expand something already existing. It might mean we start something new."
The United Way already supports the Family Y in Evans and senior and family counseling programs in Martinez, Gold said.
Gold said United Way officials also want certain groups to take the survey, such as patrons of the Bessie Thomas Community Center, Columbia County Cares and some area churches.
Once the survey is complete, officials will analyze the data and then engage the public in focus groups to start in January.
"By Columbia County being so diverse, it will be hard to say, 'This is what this county needs,' without some good data," Gold said.
Although the survey concludes in mid-December and the focus groups start in January, Gold said any program started because of the data will be long-range in scope.
"We're not going to be able to come in and do something next year, but we might be able to get some partnerships going," she said. "But by 2011, we hope to be able to put a stake in the ground in Columbia County."
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