In a period of shrinking fiscal resources it is especially important that budgetary decision-making processes be based upon empirical data relating to the actual health and social service needs of the elderly. The present study consisted of a comprehensive survey of the social service needs of a random sample of 75 normative elderly citizens drawn from a multi-ethnic population. The results provide a preliminary data-base for administrative and policy-making bodies to allocate scarce social service resources.

In an era of shrinking fiscal resources and drastic cuts in the provision of human services, funding decisions and budgetary allotments are often made on the basis of special interest group pressures, arbitrary preference or in response to the latest fad 'need' which has caught the public interest. Obviously it is vital that the available resources allocated to community mental health and other social service needs be distributed on a more equitable and rational basis.