Valley Council Releases its Quality of Life Report
The Valley Council for Health and Human Services, a partnership network of nonprofit health and human service agencies serving residents of the lower Naugatuck Valley, recently announced the release of the Valley CARES Summary Report on the quality of life in the Valley. The report covers the towns of Ansonia, Beacon Falls, Derby, Oxford, Seymour, and Shelton. In 2007 the Council began planning an initiative to track key indicators of community well-being. The quality of life indicators included in the Valley CARES report cover eight key areas of well-being, including education, health, safety, natural environment, and community engagement.
In addition to gathering existing sources of information from public and private agencies, the Valley CARES Taskforce, co-chaired by the PRC's Deputy Director, Beth Comerford, commissioned a community survey of 400 randomly selected residents of the six Valley towns to obtain their views about key issues. The 2010 report identifies key strengths and challenges of life in the Valley. For example, the survey results show that many Valley residents contribute to the community by giving time and resources to local organizations. In addition, many residents surveyed described their quality of life as good or very good. At the same time, the report documents the rising unemployment and economic hardships that make it increasingly difficult for some residents to create a good quality of life.
Results suggest that there is room for the Valley to improve further in areas such as education & training, access to housing & transportation, environmental conservation, political participation, and the prevention of disease. The first Quality of Life report is a starting point in an ongoing effort to create an indicators report that provides a useful snapshot of living conditions in the Valley. The report will be shared with the Valley community through the Valley Council website, a traveling poster display at community sites, and other forms of outreach to community groups. In addition to using the report in its own planning process, the Council hopes to engage community organizations, leaders, and residents in developing action plans for community improvement.