Survey: Living expenses, gangs top worries among county residents
Loudoun residents believe they need the most help keeping a roof over their heads and gangs out of their neighborhoods, according to a new survey.
The findings were released Nov. 30 as part of the Loudoun Community Assessment 2010, a study conducted by the University of Virginia Center for Survey Research to assess human services in the county.
To get the results, the center surveyed nearly 2,500 random Loudoun County households and human services agencies and programs in spring 2009.
The survey cost $67,790 to conduct and was paid for through federal grants and local county departments.
The study’s findings will provide a foundation for planning, grant-seeking and discussion about human services in the county, according to the Department of Family Services.
Despite Loudoun County’s recent ranking as the wealthiest in the nation, the survey’s conductors estimated that more than 3,700 households tried to get help from any source in the last year to pay the rent or mortgage, and roughly 2,000 tried to get help for other financial worries, including food and utilities.
Nearly 15 percent of those surveyed said they or someone in their household had experienced a loss of employment in the last year.
The survey showed broad support for youth programs, food pantries and transportation programs. The findings revealed that 75 percent of residents believe the county should continue to fund such programs.
However, some surveyed said they worried that Loudoun’s social services were tainted by fraud and abuse, including concerns that resources were going to residents living in the country illegally.
Despite the concerns, Andy Johnston, executive director of Loudoun Cares, a nonprofit community-services networking group, said the survey is one county officials have tried for more than 10 years to complete.
“This is an incredible collection of information the likes of which we have never had in Loudoun County. Anyone who cares about local health and human service issues should review this assessment,” Johnston said in a statement.
See the full Community Assessment report at http://www.loudoun.gov/communityassessment.
Loudoun’s biggest fears
Of nearly 2,500 random Loudoun County households and human services agencies and programs surveyed in spring 2009, a University of Virginia study found:
• 30 percent worry about having enough money to pay the rent or mortgage.
• 20 percent worry about gangs in their neighborhood.
• 19 percent worry about having enough money to pay for utilities.
• 17 percent worry about having enough money to buy food.