Crossing the cultural divide: assessing the needs of a local immigrant community
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Located less than three miles from the University of Maryland – College Park, the Langley Park area is a vibrant immigrant enclave. Language and cultural differences, however, may affect residents’ ability to access community services. A comprehensive needs assessment of the community was conducted to determine service utilization, satisfaction with available services and unmet needs. This assessment included a survey of residents and interviews with community leaders and service providers. The results show that the primary obstacle to adequately meeting residents’ needs is the language barrier. Other findings include a need for more accessible legal services, affordable health care based on preventative efforts and increased security and police presence. It is recommended that service providers focus on improving methods of outreach and offering a greater variety of bilingual services to better serve the area’s population.