ROANOKE, Va – In 2016, the city of Roanoke was struggling to fight homelessness and poverty. But Mayor Sherman Lea did have some good news to report during the annual state of the city address Thursday.
In his second state of the city address since he took office, Mayor Lea highlighted many accomplishments. One of those, Lea says is crime across the valley is down by 4.9 percent which he attributes to engaging with residents at events such as the solidarity walk this summer.
"We walked in northwest. By conducting community walks in residential areas to see for ourselves what needs to be addressed not drive though but walk through."
Lea adds moving citizens out of poverty is an issue city and community leaders are committed to continue addressing.
"We are stabilizing families in need by facilitating the Virginia Initiative for Employment, not welfare. The program support the efforts of households receiving temporary assistance for needy families to achieve independence through employment,"
The city is also tackling housing for those who are considered homeless with agencies such as the YMCA, the United Way and TAP.
"The 2017 Point In Time count shows progress in the area with a total of 266, a decrease of 19.3 percent over last year."
Lea also praised the broadband authority, a collaborative effort with Roanoke, Botetourt counties and the city of Salem. Broadband authority provides reliable and stronger internet connectivity for the local ecomony.
Roanoke City Schools superintendent, also gave an update on the improvements for the recent Standards of Learning testing scores.