Needs Assessment

Health center demonstrates and documents the needs of its target population, updating its service area, when appropriate.

Community Health Needs Assessment:  A Comprehensive Guide to Understanding and Responding to the Needs of Your Community

(2015) Health Outreach Partners developed this toolkit which provides a wealth of information, practical tools, and strategies to support organizations in their efforts to meet the health needs of underserved populations. The easy-to-use toolkit guides the user through the 5 key steps of the needs assessment process, and it is intended for health centers, Primary Care Associations, non-profit hospital organizations, other safety net providers, and local and state agencies.

 Webinar: HRSA Needs Assessment for HCH Grantees

(2014) The webinar addresses the following questions about meeting HRSA requirements: What is sufficient evidence in assessing needs of homeless in the service area? What kind of data is used for your Needs Assessment? How does one obtain this data and what resources are available to meet this requirement? What is the timeline your organization uses from start to finish to gather data and create the needs assessment? How is the needs assessment used and shared with others at your organization?

Toolkit: Assessing Your Community’s Health: A Needs Assessment Toolkit for HCH Grantees

(2014) This toolkit provides a step-by-step guide for conducting a community health needs assessment (CHNA). Content is specifically tailored for HCH grantees. The toolkit is organized into eight stages with specific tasks for each. Stages and tasks are optional and can be reordered to meet a grantee’s individual needs and preferences. Numerous resource links are provided throughout the toolkit to further explain each aspect of the process. An appendix with a full listing of these resources organized in order of mention is provided at the end.

How State Health Agencies Can Use Community Health Assessments to Promote Health Equity

(2014) The Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO) produced this webinar in regards to completing a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA), which is a federal requirement for private, non-profit hospitals. Part of the Affordable Care Act, the CHNA is additional criteria for hospitals to maintain their tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) status. This requirement is an important opportunity to address the factors that have an impact on health disparities and health equity in a community. This webinar features presentations from state health agency leaders and CHNA experts to highlight current programs, policies, and/or mechanisms to promote health equity and eliminate health disparities, with a focus on CHNAs and health reform.

Webinar: Costing Tool for Health Care for the Homeless

(2014) Health Care for the Homeless health centers include diverse patient populations, services, projects, programs, and communities. The wide variation in patients and services can cause difficulty in measuring costs, outputs, and outcomes. However, health and cost outcomes data are critical as programs plan how best to use limited resources and seek additional funding. Webinar presenters from Brandeis University will share a tool they developed to help programs conduct basic cost analyses of homeless services to measure costs and benefits. The preliminary results may be used to inform planning and policy, improve program operations, apply for funding, compare programs’ performance, or to help justify a broader cost study. Results can also help supporters, funders, policy-makers and community stakeholders to understand a program’s performance and the value of its services.

Data Resource Guide: Learning about Homelessness and Health in your Community

(2011) This updated resource guide is intended to assist those who work to meet the health care needs of homeless people in their communities. It will be particularly useful to those who are preparing funding applications for the federal Health Care for the Homeless (HCH) or other Consolidated Health Center programs. It will also be of interest to other advocates, researchers, and service providers.

RWJF County Health Rankings

(2014) This interactive map of County Health Rankings provides a health snapshot for nearly every county in all 50 states. See how well your county is doing on 29 factors that influence health, including smoking, high school graduation, employment, physical inactivity, access to healthy foods, and more.

Find Stats for Your Neighborhood with the Census Bureau’s New Interactive Map

(2013) The US Census Bureau released Census Explorer, a new interactive map that gives users easier access to neighborhood-level statistics. The map uses updated statistics from the 2008-2012 American Community Survey (ACS).

In addition to these characteristics, more than 40 American Community Survey social, economic and housing topics are now available through the Census Bureau’s data tool, American Factfinder. This includes the first release of local statistics for disability, marital history, VA service-connected disability, health insurance coverage, and year of naturalization

Pages from Organizing Health Services for Homeless People

(2001) Pages from Organizing Health Services for Homeless People which provide basic questions to help individuals and agencies plan their Health Care for the Homeless program, specifically addressing needs assessment, system assessment, and problem identification.

Need and Applying for Funding


Does the U.S. Census or any other source have county level estimates of the homeless, including those who double up?

The US Census does not collect data on the number of individuals without housing. It does collect data on poverty. HUD’s 2012 Point-in-Time (PIT) spreadsheet contains estimates by Continuums of Care (CoC). Download the spreadsheet.

What tools are available to measure the uninsured rate among the homeless population?

The UDS mapper tool allows individuals to identify uninsured by poverty level.

(October 17, 2014) HUD will work to identify ways in which the CoC’s Annual Progress Report template can be adjusted to better capture health insurance status so that changes in this critical measure can be tracked over time. Additionally, HUD will invest in developing tools for CoC’s frontline workers who are charged with collecting this data to more easily identify program participants’ health insurance status both for reporting purposes to HUD as well as to promote more efficient connections to health insurance enrollment options and services.

You may request in-depth or personalized technical assistance on any of these topics. Visit our Get Assistance page.

This website is supported by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of an award totaling $1,625,741 with 20 percent financed with non-governmental sources. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by HRSA, HHS, or the U.S. Government. For more information, please visit

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