Community Health & Vitality

The Wake County Board of Commissioners identified five goals in the Community Health and Vitality key focus area. Select a goal from the list below to learn more about the rationale, objectives, links to comprehensive plans or resources, community indicators and performance measures, and strategies.

CHV 1: Improve residents' health and well-being by promoting healthy behaviors and lifestyles.

Rationale

Everyone deserves to thrive, and Wake County is committed to ensuring that all residents have opportunities to live long, healthy, productive lives. By focusing on the social determinants of health, the County will create environments that make healthy choices outcomes possible for all. This includes access to affordable, high-quality preventative care, nutritious food and wellness programs, and promoting active lifestyles through the availability of greenways, open space and walkable neighborhoods. Wake County's initiatives like Live Well Wake, Behavioral Health Plan and PLANWake have already set these ideas into motion.

Objectives:

  • Improve individual well-being
  • Increase the length of life
  • Promote active lifestyles in alignment with PLANWake and other Growth and Sustainability strategies
  • Increase access to affordable preventative care
  • Improve access to healthy foods
  • Decrease alcohol and drug substance abuse
  • Decrease tobacco and vaping use

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Average life expectancy
  • Number of patients evaluated by EMS who show signs of suspected mental health and substance use disorders
  • Number of alcohol-impaired driving deaths
  • Number of drug overdose deaths and hospitalizations
  • Number of opioid pills dispensed (rate per 10,000 population)

Example Strategies:

  • CHV 1.1: Consolidate the Community Health Needs Assessment and Population Health Task Force recommendations into the Live Well Wake community collaborative. The collaborative will develop a multi-year plan to improve health and well-being.
  • CHV 1.2: Implement and evaluate the action plan outlined in the Infant Mortality 2020 Workgroup Report, to enhance the health outcomes for babies and moms, reduce infant deaths and reduce related disparities.
  • CHV 1.3: Update and implement the Behavioral Health Plan.
  • CHV 1.4: Enhance the accessibility and diversification of substance abuse treatment options.
  • CHV 1.5: Support tobacco and vaping prevention, focusing on school-aged children and reducing use among the general population.

CHV 2: Improve access to affordable, high-quality care for all residents experiencing medical and/or behavioral health challenges.

Rationale

By ensuring access to a robust network of resources, Wake County can help improve its residents' quality of life. Expanding access to medical and behavioral health treatment is critical – and residents need affordable, diverse healthcare services and providers close to where they live and work. Enlisting our community partners' help and using existing regional centers will increase efficiency, allowing the County to provide more treatment services. Residents with medical or behavioral needs should have more options for health and mental crises outside the emergency room. Wake County can help fill those gaps.

Objectives:

  • Increase access to behavioral health services and facilities1
  • Increase access to medical health care services and facilities2
  • Eliminate disparities in the quality of medical and behavioral health care
  • Improve clinical efficiencies
  • Increase the coordination and sharing of relevant data among care providers

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Percentage of the population uninsured
  • Percentage of Medicaid applications processed on time
  • The ratio of healthcare providers to population
  • Number of people using Wake County health clinic services
  • Number of visits to the Wake County health clinic
  • Amount of time WakeBrook is on diversion
  • Rates of emergency room/department visit for mental health conditions
  • Number of avoidable bed days (behavioral health)
  • Percentage of individuals returning for treatment for 30 days (behavioral health)
  • Number of Wake County Sheriff's Office officers who received Crisis Intervention Training

Example Strategies:

  • CHV 2.1: Participate in state-led Medicaid Transformation through partnerships with the community and the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
  • CHV 2.2: Develop a sustainable financial plan to support future WakeBrook operations.
  • CHV 2.3: Evaluate performance and current metrics of crisis services to identify additional needs or service gaps.
  • CHV 2.4: Evaluate the effectiveness of the behavioral health urgent care pilot and determine the next steps.
  • CHV 2.5: Leverage Wake County Human Services and our partners to enhance behavioral health services data sharing.
  • CHV 2.6: Support efforts to share medical records between safety net providers through a common platform.
     

Access includes proximity, affordability and language resources.
Access includes proximity, affordability and language resources.

CHV 3: Support a higher quality of life for vulnerable residents and communities.

Rationale

Wake County's commitment to equity requires a commitment to vulnerable residents and communities. The County seeks to foster upward mobility such that all people have the tools and resources they need to succeed and live happy and fulfilling lives. For vulnerable residents, the County recognizes that additional community and partnership support may be necessary to help residents make positive changes and reach their desired self-sufficiency level. Assisting residents to become productive and prosperous is both the right thing to do and a way to ensure that all residents can contribute to the community.

Objectives:

  • Foster upward mobility
  • Encourage the creation of livable wage jobs with affordable benefits
  • Implement policies that positively impact vulnerable communities
  • Implement policies that positively impact the most vulnerable residents, with an emphasis on:
    • Adverse childhood experiences
    • Foster children and families
    • Justice-involved resident
    • Residents with disabilities
    • Seniors
    • Veterans and military families
  • Recognize the significant contributions of veterans and military families
  • Build and strengthen community partnerships
  • Provide proximate, place-based civic engagement and resource access
  • Support capacity-building opportunities
  • Foster and support career enhancement and job creation
  • Increase access to workforce development, education, training and entrepreneurship development3

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Upward mobility rank
  • Living wage
  • Poverty rate

Example Strategies:

  • CHV 3.1: Support a higher quality of life for citizens in vulnerable communities through policy changes, partnerships, workforce development and the community college
    • Workplan will connect WakeWorks (initiative E 3.1) and vulnerable communities (initiative CHV 3.1) to avoid potential disparities during the apprenticeship program's implementation.
  • CHV 3.2: Develop and support programs and partnerships that reduce adverse childhood experiences and increase resiliency in families and communities
  • CHV 3.3: Convene a Veterans Services Task Force to review assistance provided to veterans and military families
     

‘Access’ is defined as program offerings and proximity to offerings.

CHV 4: All residents should have access to safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate and affordable food.

Rationale

Access to healthy food is a basic human need and right. Food security means that all residents have the food they need, ensuring that everyone is fed with nutritious diets and that no one's next meal is in doubt. In addition, food provided should be in line with people's cultural and religious beliefs. Wake County is committed to ensuring food access for all through a whole systems approach to food security. The County is fortunate in this mission to have amazing community partners. The County will continue to coordinate with regional and statewide leaders and community partners to develop a vibrant food systems network to ensure accessible and affordable food options.

Objectives:

  • Ensure reliable food access – including for young children and seniors
  • Improve food access for those in USDA-classified deserts with limited transportation or grocery store access
  • Increase cooperation and coordination with regional and statewide partners
  • Continue to partner with the community groups and highlight their work
  • Support food systems, including the expansion of locally grown foods and access to markets

Comprehensive Plans:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Meal gap4
  • Pounds of local foods secured by public institutions and food banks
  • Community participation5
  • County-based food supply6
  • Partnerships and organizational connections
  • Farmers market SNAP redemptions

Example Strategies:

  • CHV 4.1: Implement the comprehensive Wake County Food Security Plan and measure the impacts of county-resourced efforts
  • CHV 4.2: Support and encourage local food systems that include the production, distribution, acquisition, consumption, and disposal of locally grown foods

The meal gap tracks the need for food among at-risk families alongside Wake County’s ability to fulfill that need through improved household resources or food assistance programs.
Community participation measures the number of Wake County residents learning about food or volunteering to make a better food system.
County-based food supply targets local food production and the diversion of food waste to food rescue programs.

CHV 5: Create affordable housing opportunities and support efforts to end homelessness.

Rationale

Stable, affordable housing is critically important to the quality of life of Wake County residents. Housing environments play a crucial role in the social determinants of health, while housing costs dictate the amount of family income available for food, education, or other investments. Rising housing costs increase the risk of housing instability, eviction and homelessness among some of the County's residents. Wake County's housing programs will minimize the number of residents experiencing homelessness and unstable or transient housing using the 'Housing First' model. The County will also increase the number of affordable housing units and protect existing affordable housing stock.

Objectives:

  • Preserve existing affordable housing units
  • Increase the number of legally binding affordable housing units
  • Leverage land for affordable housing development opportunities
  • Continue rental assistance and eviction prevention programs
  • Increase wrap-around services for residents in need of additional support

Comprehensive Plans and Key Resources:

Example Indicators and Performance Measures:

  • Increase and preserve the County's legally binding affordable housing inventory by 2,500 units by 2024
  • Median monthly housing costs, owner-occupied housing units with a mortgage
  • Percentage of people spending more than 30% of their income on rental housing

Example Strategies:

  • CHV 5.1: Implement the Wake County Affordable Housing Plan to increase and preserve the County's affordable housing inventory by 2,500 units by 2024
  • CHV 5.2: Expand stable, permanent supportive housing opportunities
  • CHV 5.3: Convene municipal elected officials to identify strategies for increasing county-wide affordable housing supply