Case Study

Wayne Metropolitan Community Action Agency

2016 & 2019



Practice Area



Community Based Research

Community Needs Assessments



Wayne Metro has been serving 42 outer Wayne County communities since 1971. However, in 2012 Detroit’s Department of Human Services was defunded amid allegations of mismanagement of funds. Because of Wayne Metro’s excellent reputation for fiscal management, it was named Detroit’s interim provider of services for low-income residents and community building programs. In March of 2015, Wayne Metro was named the official permanent Community Action Agency of Detroit. As a result of this change, Wayne Metro has had to grow quickly and innovate to serve more clients efficiently while maintaining a high level of quality and fiscal responsibility.

Community Action Agencies are required to conduct a Community Needs Assessment that gathers feedback from service recipients, staff, partner agencies, and community leaders about the needs of the community. The Needs Assessment is then used to guide the organization’s strategic plan, services offered, and opportunities pursued for the next three years.


In 2016, as Wayne Metro planned for the growth and sustainability it would need to support its continued service in Wayne County, and expand into Detroit, TPMA partnered with Wayne Metro to develop its 2016 Community Needs Assessment.


TPMA conducted focus groups with individuals receiving services from Wayne Metro to learn which programs are helpful to them and what gaps in service prevent them from succeeding in reaching their goals. The team also facilitated community forums and interviews to gather feedback from community members, community leaders, and Wayne Metro staff. This qualitative information was then combined with secondary data from the U.S. Census Bureau and State Departments of Health, Labor, and Human Services to provide a report on the overarching community needs that exist in Wayne County, Michigan.


TPMA was contracted again to complete the 2019 Community Needs Assessment, providing meaningful stakeholder input and recommendations that helped guide the organization into its next phase of development.