Gun violence, affordable housing voiced as top concerns in City of Roanoke’s citizen survey

Despite concerns, 75% of people say they would recommend living in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – Crime, housing and downtown parking. Those are some of the things that the people of Roanoke are most concerned about.

On Monday night, Roanoke City Council learned the results of the 2021 Citizen Survey, a biennial survey the city uses to get feedback from residents.

“There is and we did see a great concern in public safety driven by the recent increase in gun violence. That was very prominent in the survey,” said Loretta Aslop with Issues & Answers Network Inc.

More than 400 residents completed the survey between November 2021 and January 2022. People were selected using census-based quotas, ensuring race, age and zip codes were represented proportionally.

“We are working on those things we need to work on. And because during the time of the survey there was almost a shooting a week and people were concerned about that, but I think we are making some progress in that area,” said Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea.

Lea said the city council is working to address these concerns with programs like the Gun Violence Prevention Commission.

In addition to that, Roanoke Police Chief Sam Roman said Monday, that his department is closing more of these cases with arrests.

“So we’ve got a plan, but it takes a while for it to come through,” said Lea.

Affordable housing is also a concern for city leaders.

“We have an eye towards affordable housing and that’s a need. A lot of people are looking for places to live. We want to make that accessible,” said Lea.

Some positives, eight out of ten people who responded to the survey say they are satisfied with city services and three out of four would recommend living in Roanoke.

“A few things I felt good about was the quality of life, people felt good about the quality of life,” said Lea. “We’ve got work to do, that’s certain. But I think people feel like we are headed in the right direction,” he said.

To find the full survey report, click here.

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