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VIA LINK partnered with researchers from the University of New Orleans (UNO) Master of Public Administration (MPA) program to conduct a community needs assessment for southeast Louisiana based on anonymous 211 call data over the past decade. The research team evaluated call data to pinpoint the greatest needs of those seeking VIA LINK’s services and how needs changed over time, including significant changes during the COVID pandemic and Hurricane Ida. The goal was to help VIA LINK and its partners better anticipate and respond to community needs and help fill gaps in regional resources.

This report shares findings from the study for public use. It explains the approach and limitations of the research, followed by trends in three areas: who calls 211, what their greatest needs are overall and during disasters, and what resource gaps exist. It concludes with recommendations for VIA LINK as well as its government and nonprofit partners so the data can be turned into action that strengthens our region.


This report was prepared by the UNO research team of Professor Steve Mumford and MPA candidate Tosha Shanableh, with the support and guidance of Andrew Holbein, VIA LINK's Director of Resources and Data, and LaVondra Dobbs, VIA LINK's President and CEO.

We wish to thank the call specialists who painstakingly collect data through 211 and other services, making this study possible. We also thank the thousands of community organizations that serve southeast Louisiana through disasters and hardships.