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What Are the Different Types of Community Development Services?

Jan Fletcher
Jan Fletcher

The different types of community development services include human resource and job development, and the transmittal of essential life skills to a distressed population. Dispensing medical services and housing assistance is a frequent activity in this sector. Working to preserve a community's natural resources is another form of community development services. These types of services may occur in both urban and rural communities.

Since economically distressed communities often struggle with high unemployment, job creation has historically been used to alleviate poverty and increase the standard of living. This type of community development services is targeted to those who are unemployed or underemployed. Sometimes, job assistance programs are aimed at a particular age group, or those within a certain economic strata, such as individuals who are considered poor. If unemployment is widespread in a particular geographical region, services may be more broadly offered to residents, without as many qualifiers.

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Transmittal of essential life skills is a frequent aspect of community development work. Target populations for these programs often include those who are mentally or physically challenged. Community development staff may work in tandem with government service providers, and may even receive some governmental assistance to help clients achieve a greater level of self-sufficiency. Clients may be mentally, physically, or emotionally challenged, and therefore are unable to manage proper care for themselves or those who may depend upon them, such as children or elderly relatives.

Preserving natural resources is another activity sometimes classified within community development services. Often, natural resource preservation undergirds a community's economic vitality. For example, a community that derives significant income from harvesting and processing wood products could experience a decline in overall wealth, if the resource is depleted as a result of unsustainable harvesting practices. In these cases, those who provide community development services may work with both commercial enterprises and government agencies to develop better stewardship of such a resource.

Housing and medical care are also commonly targeted as areas in which community residents may require assistance. In affordable housing programs, private developers may work with nonprofit organizations and/or government agencies to construct or rehabilitate housing for economically disadvantaged populations. Migrant workers are an example of a population group that has been historically identified as having an increased risk of living in substandard housing. Programs targeted to helping migrant workers can benefit the workers and the community by ensuring that housing is safe and meets basic needs. Community development services are offered in both urban and rural settings, as the need for development services spans many types of communities.

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