Community social wellness report shows some progress, continued disparities

Unknown Object Mary Dodd, interim executive director of CAN, discusses the findings of the sixth annual CAN Dashboard report.[/caption]

A report examining multiple areas of community social health and wellness was released in full May 20 showing progress in some areas while highlighting problem issues still facing the city of Austin and Travis County.

The sixth annual Dashboard Report from Community Advancement Network, or CAN, examines socioeconomic factors in the community and provides a snapshot of how the community is doing in those areas, such as crime rates, level of income, health and education, CAN interim Executive Director Mary Dodd said.

"This year's report reveals a community that is recovering from the recession but with troubling disparities by race, income and geography," Dodd said.

Travis County has improved in some areas since last year, as the crime rate dropped, a smaller percentage of residents report being low income and homelessness decreased as has unemployment and the number of adult smokers, according to CAN.

However, some conditions have worsened since last year's report. CAN's data showed a decrease in voter turnout, an increase in the percentage of people who live without a reliable food source, an increase in adults with poor mental health and an increase in obese adults.

"When we look at our region graphically on a map and where low income populations are concentrated, it's a very divided community," Dodd said. "We have areas of our community that have high concentrations of low income and areas of our community that have very high concentrations of high income. This leads to a region where we have increasing congestion and increasing cost for housing as people are moving further and further out to find affordable housing."

Dodd said solutions to the issues facing Austin and Travis County can be found through continued conversations with stakeholders and organizations who can make a difference. CAN will host a regional summit in late October or early November to bring together organizations and community members to discuss issues and find solutions, she said.


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