On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, the Tri-County Health Equity Zone, or HEZ program hosted a community workshop, which the team called, “Coffee Talk” at the Meehan Overlook at Governor Notte Park, in North Providence. The workshop was held to give community residents and community organizations the opportunity to provide their insight into challenges faced as a result of the COVID-19, and challenges faced in general. 

Earlier in the year, the HEZ program conducted stakeholder surveys and collected data from sources such as the U.S. Census, the RI Kids’ Count Fact Book, and other sources to identify areas of concerns in the towns of North Providence, Smithfield and Johnston.  Results from these analyses concluded that challenges included mental health and substance use concerns, access to healthy foods, access to affordable housing, and lack of senior services. 

The “Coffee Talk” event asked residents to further elaborate on these challenges, and how they thought the HEZ Program could help to address these issues.

Over 50 people attended the interactive event, which had requirements in place for masking and social distancing.

The Tri-County Health Equity Zone plans to share the results of the data collection in their completed Needs Assessment, which should be released in mid to late October.