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Community Needs Assessment

Sharon Cummings, Tishana Loftin, Annalisa Barnett and Melissa Howell

Universtiy of North Carolina at Pembroke

Abstract

This is a summary is of a chosen community. The chosen community was South Lumberton, North Carolina. This summary contains an observation of the community focusing on Geographic Characteristics, Economic Characteristics, Social Characteristics, Political Characters, and a demographic and housing profile of the community. This community assessment includes a description of the neighborhoods, research of the community demographics and the interviews of community members. This summary will include the strenths and weeknesses of the community. This summary will also examine what needs to be improved to enrich the livlihood of the community members.



Part #1: Observation of the community South Lumberton

The research team went to South Lumberton to observe the geographic, social, economic, and political characteristics of this community. According to Chief Deputy Tommy Barnes of The Lumberton Police Department, South Lumberton, is considered Patrol Beat 7 considering Lumberton is made of eight sections. Within this paper all data gathered from the research team will offer some insight into how individuals live their daily lives within the South Lumberton Community.



Geographic characteristics

The geography of the community is typically city. The community is flat land with very few soy bean fields. There is a rail road track entering into South Lumberton. This community is not very appealing. One field in the community was filled with gas tanks with the company logo Feralleas Gas. Also, there is a large open field called “The Fairgrounds” where the Robeson County Fair is held annually. The Fairgrounds offers other activities that are held throughout the year. There is a golf course “Cliff Wood” with pretty green grass that is manicured with a few hills. The roads in South Lumberton are in fair condition, but the streets that lead to some neighborhoods were in poor conditions. The main road in South Lumberton is named Martin Luther King Drive. Along this main street are many small businesses that look degraded. Some of the small businesses are convenient stores, day care centers, funeral homes, etc... There a few small houses that is in fairly good shape on this main street. Martin Luther King Drive is a busy street with vehicles, bicycle riders and foot traffic. The vehicle traffic was not primary residents; Martin Luther King Drive has access to the Robeson County Prison, Robeson County Water Department and Fairmont, N.C. places. There is one natural barrier within the community, the Lumber River. Although the Lumber River flows in this community, there has not been a major flood that has occurred as with other communities in Lumberton. South Lumberton appears to be isolated from other neighborhoods. There is one small grocery store called Kash and Karry. Within this grocery store is a café with a sign out front with the words “Soul Food” café. Also, there is a small seafood restaurant (Village Inn).



Social characteristics

South Lumberton residents are predominant poor African American individuals. They share the same culture and beliefs. The research team observed day care centers, recreational centers, and schools which provided different ages ranging from birth to the elderly. Most people in this community were friendly. Although, the research team did encounter one individual as indifferent and curious this made the team feel uneasy. There are many churches within the South Lumberton community with denominations such as Holiness, Baptist, and AME. The research team observed the following churches:



  1. “Greater New Bethel Missionary Baptist Church” Revered Gay. This church was a nice brick structure with a paved parking lot. The church had a nice building with two vans. Also, the church had its own cemetery.

  2. “Bright Hope Divine Holy Church of God” #2 Inc. Bishop Mamie K. Harrison. This church was a few yards from church one. This was a small but nice brick structure. There was no paved parking lot only a grassy area.

  3. “New Mormick Chapel AME Church” Judy Johns. This is a newly big brick structure with a paved parking lot.

  4. “Sandy Grove Missionary Baptist Church” This church is a nice big structure with a paved parking lot. This church offers pre-school services for ages 3-5. Beside the church is a brick house which is the preachers parish, and there is a utility building for the church. Most of the churches in South Lumberton have long names.

The research team found one meeting place which is “The Lumber River Baptist Association”. The research team did not find any bars or taverns unless there were “boot leggers”. This term by the community means individuals that may sell alcohol illegal in their homes or on their property. Some places where alcohol could be sold was in convenient stores or “Kash and Karry” which is the only grocery store in South Lumberton.

There are a few parks and recreational centers that the research team came across. Park View Activity Center is a brick structure with iron rods against the windows and doors. The center needs a lot of improving inside as well as the outside. There were a few people from the community sitting inside as if they had nothing to do. The research team spoke with Lori E. Washington who is the Senior Director of this facility. This facility offers many programs for all ages. There is a project in progress for teens called “ICE” meaning I Can Escape. This is a good metaphor. Another recreational center the team came across was Robeson County Parks and Recreation Department. This is a newly brick structure with nice grounds. This building is mainly for office use, because the center utilizes the schools for their activities. This facility is for the county which offers summer camps and all sports affiliations. Also, the research team came across a “Weed and Seed” program that offers computer classes, arts and crafts in the community. This is a newly brick structure. Another type of recreation the research came across was a golf course “Cliff Wood”. Most people who golf here are not residents, but from other communities.

The housing in the South Lumberton Community varies from good, to fair, to poor. The team observed housing conditions on Winsor Street. The houses on this street were in poor condition. The yards were small and cluttered. Some of the houses were small wood and brick structures. The houses were very close together. Winsor Street is a narrow bumpy road that leads to a dead end. Surprisingly the vehicles in these yards looked good. These houses seemed to be family owned. On other streets were abandoned old houses, but there were no for sale signs. Another neighborhood the research team observed was Sun Set Heights. This was a nice and clean neighborhood. Most of the homes were nice brick structures with manicured yards. This neighborhood was a good size, and a little more spacious than the other neighborhoods. These houses seemed to be family owned. The research team also observed Turner Mobile Home Park. This mobile home park looks nice, but looks are deceiving. Within this mobile home park are a lot of break-ins. This mobile home park was recently on the news for the many break-ins to make people become more aware of any suspicious activities to report. The mobile homes in this park are rental. There are also low income housing complexes for rent (depending on income status). Most of the houses in South Lumberton are small with small yards. Most of the houses in this area are surrounded by other houses. There were no for sale signs for the houses, they are mainly family owned.

The research team did find evidence of construction in the low income housing complexes. The research team agreed that distinct sub-communities within the larger community of South Lumberton were the low income housing. These housing complexes seem to have their own community. “Lumbee Housing” is a complex for low income status through public housing. These apartments are in poor condition as well as the yards. There were some people sitting outside and little foot traffic. There was a small play ground for children. These apartments almost looked abandoned. There was heavy equipment which was signs of reconstruction. These apartments are the oldest in the South Lumberton Community. The research team also observed “Park View Terrance” which is a nicer low income housing complex made of brick structure. This housing complex is private owned by forty-one black Baptist churches. There were maintenance people working to beautify the area. Also, there is a nice play area for children. This housing complex was once a drug infested area until Mrs. Tyndall became the director. Mrs. Tyndall has done a good job in over-seeing Park View Terrance. The research team did not see foot traffic only maintenance people working. The research team did not see any people sitting outside. The research team observed rest homes in this community. One rest home the research team observed was Morh Plaza. This is a brick two-story building. This facility is in good condition. Some residents that live at Morh Plaza may or may not be able to take good quality care of themselves. Behind this building flows the mighty Lumber River. South Lumberton has not encountered major floods from Lumber River as other communities in Lumberton have.

Some of the people that reside in South Lumberton work various types of jobs. Also, there are a great number of people that are unemployed. There is moderate foot traffic and people riding bicycles around the ages sixteen and up. Many people sat on their porches (usually they were older) just to pass the time away. The majority of foot traffic the research team encountered was males. There are drug dealings, gangs, and prostitution in some areas of this community. South Lumberton has more dangerous crimes than other parts of Lumberton. Since the community is predominant African American outsiders are looked upon as being peculiar. The outsiders view the residents in the same way. Residents of South Lumberton share the same cultural, beliefs and feel very comfortable in their environment.

Economic Characteristics

As we entered into the South side of Lumberton, my group could tell there were jobs available for the people in the community because there were two different factories where people worked at. One was “Quickie Manufacture”, where they make cleaning supplies from mops to brooms and the other factory being “Graphic Packaging”, where they make cartons for frozen dinners for the military. We saw two construction sites as we drove around, one took place in the Lumbee homes and the other was on the side of the road, we were unable to find out what they where building because there was no sign up or never any one around to ask. We never saw any garage sales, but could tell that they at least have a flea market on the weekends because of the big tents and the tables set up.

Unemployment seems to be a big deal in the South side of Lumberton because as we visited one recreation center there was people just sitting there watching television, or playing games on the community center. We stopped by a place called Weed & Seed, this place offered computer assistance for people that do not understand the basics of a computer and have advance programs also. Most of the people that were there had been laid off due to job problems and others who thought it was a good idea to learn something new. There were many young and middle-age people sitting on the porches of their homes, or walking around the neighborhood.

We seen only one grocery store in this area, called Kash and Karry. You would not know this was a grocery if you just drove by because it is so small and looks rundown. The grocery store sells mostly food and little items someone might need around their home, plus it is so cluttered in the inside, that to me only five people can fit in there at one time. Connected to the grocery store is a soul food and country buffet restaurant where people can dine in or carry out. There is no public transportation at all; all we saw was private transportation such as people that own their own vehicles which they had little of. Most people either rode their bikes to get from one place to another or just walked on feet. My team saw one billboard advertising McDonald’s restaurant.



Political Characteristics

The condition of the roads seemed to be in fair shape even though there could be a place where the department of transportation (DOT) could fix up because of the big pot holes and big bumps in the road. They seem to have a problem with garbage being on the side of the road because at least every time we went to observer the community we saw inmates doing roadside cleaning. There were many sidewalks and they seemed to be in fair condition not to small or to narrow.

With the elections coming up in November there are lots of signs who to vote for this person or that person. There are three ladies running for Court of Appeals: Judge Crassie Thigpen, Martha Geer, and Jane Gray. One sign read re-elect Pierce for North Carolina House or Douglass Yongue. Judge Bob Hunter is running for North Carolina Supreme Court and Richard Burr for United States Senate.

There is an elementary school on the South side of Lumberton, named W.H. Knuckles Elementary. The school is well clean on the inside and outside and the play ground equipment for the kids look to be safe and in good condition. My group did not find a middle or high school local on this side of Lumberton. There is no local library. The local newspaper is called the “Robesonian”. No voluntary agencies are located in this community and services are very limited to the people that live in this community.



Part two: Demographic and housing Profile of the Community

The information that will be provided about the city of Lumberton, NC will contain General Population including Gender population, marital populations, aged populations, and racial populations. This information will also include Housing information including home values, household incomes, and home sales, the level of education of residents in Lumberton, NC leading to Employment and labor statistics. This Data was taken from City-data, and American towns. This information was taken from the July, 2009 census.



What was learned about Lumberton, NC

As of July 2009, the general population of people in Lumberton, NC was 20, 795. This population size is a 5.4% higher than in the 2000 census (City-data, 2009). Meaning, Lumberton is a rapidly growing city.



Gender, Marital Status and Race

Males account for 47.1% of the total population, meaning there are between 9,800 and 10,331 men in Lumberton, NC. Females make up 58% of the population, meaning there are between 10,995 and 11,592 females in Lumberton, NC (American towns, 2009). As noted, there are more females in Lumberton than males; The Male population is estimated around 4,227 married men which are 58% of men over the age of fifteen that are married. The Female population of married females is estimated around 3,624 which accounts for 41.6% of total females over the age of fifteen that are married (American towns, 2009). Even though the

Population of male residents is lower than female residents; the population of married women is lower than the population of married men.

There is a diversity of races in the city of Lumberton. The Caucasian population is the largest one race percent of Lumberton residents. The smallest but most rapidly integrated population is the Hispanic population. Residents that identify as other races account for a small portion of the one race percent population (American towns, 2009). 482 residents are foreign born. 1.5% of residents are born in Latin America, 0.5% is born in Asia and 0.2% is born in Europe (City-data, 2009).

Table 1

Race Population

Race

Number

Percent

Caucasian

9,863

42.9%

African American

7,746

33.7%

American Indian

3,555

15.5%

Hispanic

1,090

4.7%

Two or more

392

1.7%

Asian

315

1.4%

Other/Multiple

14


0.06%

Note. from city-data, 2009

Age

The median age of residents in Lumberton, NC is 35.3 (American towns, 2009). At the time of the survey conducted by the U.S census there was 1,583 residents identified as under the age of five. There are 15,319 residents over the age of eighteen, which represents 73.7% of the total population (American towns, 2009). 3,085 residents of Lumberton are over the age of sixty-five, making the older population 14.8% of the total Population (American towns, 2009).



Housing and house characteristics

At the time of the last census survey, there were 8,800 total housing units in Lumberton, NC (American towns, 2009). The household population in Lumberton is 19,084. 1,701 residents in Lumberton live in group quarters (American towns, 2009). Meaning they are homeless, live with relatives, or imprisoned. The average household population is 2.44 and the average family size is 3.14 (American towns, 2009). Home values vary, the median, the total number of single family owners is 3,692 with the median value in dollars of 71,300. The monthly owner cost in Lumberton, NC is $828.00 (American towns, 2009).



Education and Employment

There is a higher percent of high school graduates than higher level education levels in Lumberton. Education is directly related to the employment opportunities. There are 7,981 residents in the labor force in Lumberton, which is only 50.7 percent of the total population (American towns, 2009). The median household income for a family residing in Lumberton is $41, 994. There is 1, 222 families living below the poverty line, making up 23.9% if the population (American towns, 2009).

Table 2

Education and employment

Education

Percent

High School

70.6%

Bachelors Degree

20.4%

Graduate or professional Degree

7.8%

Unemployed

8.1%

Note. from City-data, 2009

The city of Lumberton is a lot more populated than I thought it would have been. In my research I noticed there are not a lot of apartment complexes, but more residents actually rented or owned their own home. An interesting discovery about residents in Lumberton is that more people who owned houses has one or more than one vehicle, but renters had a lower population of owning a vehicle. 3,722 Residents who owned their home has two vehicles, having two cares was the highest rate of vehicle ownership in residents who owned their home. It is more popular for a renter to have only one vehicle, 2,478 residents owned only one vehicle (City-data, 2009).

In terms of home values it was amazing to observe the wide range of values of homes. Majority of residents in Lumberton’s home value was $100,000 and $129,000 (City-data, 2009). The Majority amount in dollars that residents pay to renters is between $450.00 and $499.00 per month. Median price asked for vacant for-sale houses and condos in 2008: $72,573 (City-data, 2009). The median Caucasian homeowners value in 2008 set at $118,858, which is surprisingly lower than other races. Native Hawaiian families have the highest home value; with the median for this race being $143,855 (City-data, 2009). This is surprising information because Hawaiian populations are one of the minority groups in this community and the fact that the Caucasian population is the largest of all race populations. The family size of families in this community range from two to seven people in a household. 3,699 have two persons, 2,548 have three persons, 1,985 have four persons, and 783 have five persons, 315 have six persons, 210 seven or more persons (City-data, 2009). There are a large number of nonfamily households in this community. Size of nonfamily households include; 3,500 one person, 374 two persons, 63 three persons, 42 four persons, 7 six persons (City-data, 2009). In Lumberton there are 4,734 married couples with children and 3,800 single-parent households, 555 men, 3,245 women (City-data, 2009). The pattern of this material can conclude that Native Hawaiian families work more and own their own homes than do other races. 27.0 percent of the population lived below the poverty level (City-data, 2009).

This material can also conclude that the lack of education can lead to the lack of employment, and the lack of education and employment ultimately leads to the families’ financial capabilities such as whether they can own or rent a house or apartment, and how many vehicles they can afford.



Comparison to Pembroke, NC

Lumberton is quite comparable to Pembroke. Lumberton and Pembroke are about seventeen miles apart from one another in distance. Even though they are close physically to one another they are still comparable. The focus of comparison will be on population, housing, race, and education/income. I chose to compare Pembroke to Lumberton because of the lack of distance and the fact that the University is in Pembroke, Which I attend.

Table 3

Comparison

Characteristic

Pembroke, NC

Lumberton, NC

Population

8,060

23,560

Median house values

$90,958

$95,958

Median Income

$25,274

$33,215

Family households

73.9

70.1

Household income

$33,875

$34,778

Below Poverty Level

28.7

27.0

Note. from City-data, 2009

Tentative Conclusion

After reviewing the data from City-data and American towns, it is evident that Lumberton, NC has both strengths and weaknesses. Strengths of this community are that there is diversity in races. Lumberton has a good mixture of types of residents, categorized by age, marital status, education and income level. There is evidence of many types of classes, such as below poverty.

This community could use education promotion. There are a high number of residents who complete high school but do not achieve levels higher than high school diplomas. If educational promotion was enforced more residents might develop a desire to go to college as well as complete it. This is an area where if you do not have anything higher than a high school diploma than the chances of owning a home and vehicle can be influenced. Lack of educational promotion can also be in connect with the unemployment of this community.

More employment opportunities can increase the income for families and could lead from below poverty level families to living above poverty.



Part Three: History, Resources, Leadership, and Economics

History

The great City of Lumberton, North Carolina was established in 1787 and named the capital City of Robeson County (City of Lumberton, 2009). Lumberton is located in the southeastern part of North Carolina. The population consists of approximately 21,000 citizens with a diversity of ethnic groups with a large group of African Americans and Native Americans. The city is famous for its Lumber River State Park it is one of the most visited sites in the area by traveling visitors (City of Lumberton, 2009). Many people in the community look forward to the fireworks that are held at Lumberton Senior High School each year that is sponsored by local businesses within the community. The community has been known for its work in agriculture, tobacco, and textiles and known as excellent place to live peacefully.

However, in the late 1980s and early 1990s the reputation of the community changed drastically, it suddenly became known as a community prone to violate behavior when two Native American men held people hostage with firearm at the local newspaper office; the “Robesonian” because they felt that the community showed partiality toward Native Americans. And to make matters worse, the city made national headlines in the media when the father of basketball legend Michael Jordan was found dead. In 1998, a respected Native American whose name could not be revealed was murder in a personal dispute which also amplified the reputation of the community to be prone to violence. The Southside of Lumberton has the highest rate of drugs and crime than any other area in the community.

Robeson Community College movement expanded into Lumberton with the development of an extension unit of a local technical school in 1965 (Robeson Community College, 2008). The facility was erected at the Barker Ten-Mile Elementary School between the Lumberton and St. Pauls area. The college was affiliated with Fayetteville Technical Institute but became independent of Fayetteville Technical Institute a few years later. The college name was later changed to Robeson Community College, there are more than twenty one curriculum programs offer at the college and there has been several building projects that have taken place to extend the college (Robeson Community College, 2008).



Leadership, Politics, and Government

The City Council enacted a new law that requires business that have alcohol permits to shut down at 1 a.m. instead of the usual time of 2 a.m. and Councilman Erich Hackney said that he totally supports the law and does not regret his decision to pass the law, he said “because of the new law it has made the community safer and has decreased the crime rated in the inner city area”. Many business owners opposed the idea of having to shut their businesses down an hour earlier because their profits would decrease, but Councilman Hackney is more concerned with the overall stability of the community at large.



Human Services

There are several recreational activities for people within the community; Mrs. Lori E. Washington is the senior director of Parkview Activity Center located on the south side of Lumberton. The activity center offers programs to compliment all age groups from the very young to senior citizens. The center has an ABC & 123 for children pre- k to kindergarten which prepares children to read and write. The facility operation hours are Monday-Saturday eight o’clock in the morning until eight o’clock at night and Sunday one o’clock in the afternoon until five o’clock in the afternoon. The center conducts a day camp in the summer to occupy the children with positive activities while school is out; funding is provided by the parents. The activity center is in the process of establishing a new program to help at risk youth called I.C.E. (I Can Escape). Another recreational center within the community is Weed and Seed located across from W.H. Knuckles Elementary school that provides computer classes and crafts.

The 21st Century Community Learning program supports the creation of community learning centers that provide academic enrichment opportunities during after school hours for children with special attention to students who reside in poverty stricken programs and are enrolled in low performance schools. The program helps students that are falling behind in their academic studies such as reading, math and science. The program also helps the parents of the kids that participate in the program by providing academic supplies to further assist the children in the home.

Another service that is provided to the people in the community is Agape Child Development Center. Agape Child Development Center offers services to children ages 0 to 12 years old. They service is Monday to Friday at 6:30am until 1:00 am because they offer first and second shifts. Agape is state licensed and rating three stars in the state. They also have an open door policy with before and after school programs. The center makes sure that the kids have well balanced meals and snacks.



Strengths

This community has much strength. One of the strengths of this community is that 70.6 percent of the population has obtained a high school diploma or higher (City-data, 2009). Also, there are many job opportunities available for the people who do not have higher education.

There are many opportunities for people in the community to improve their quality of life. The members of this community are able to do this through the community centers, and the Weed & Seed programs. The programs offered range from learning basic reading skills and computer literacy programs to exercising and improving the health and fitness in the lives of the members of the community.

There are many opportunities for members of the community to attend church services. This community has a minimum of nine churches they can attend. These churches are known for coming together to combat the negative influences of drug and crime in this community.

This community has several parks. Parks in this community have a positive influence on family morale and giving the children something positive to do. Families are able to go to the parks and do things with their children. This is also a way for children to stay active which promotes better health and fitness.

Weaknesses

There are also weaknesses in this community, although a large percent of the population has obtained a high school diploma, there still remains a low level of higher education obtainment in this community which in turn limits their ability to be employed in higher paid jobs. This community has a known reputation for having high crime rates and also high discrimination rates. Many events from the history of this community have led to this negative reputation.

This community does not offer public transportation. Offering public transportation could benefit the members of the community. As seen in this research, a lot of members in this community do not own at least one vehicle. Not owning a vehicle could limit the members from taking part in the community.

Conclusion

The population of this community is rapidly rising. With this population increase, more jobs need to become available. The members of this community could benefit from job training programs that could prepare them for employment in this community. The increase job training programs could also lead to families living above the poverty level.

Even though this community is a rural community it is a rapidly growing community, with new businesses being established which is creating new job opportunities for people in this community.

References

Census and Detailed community Profile. (2009). Lumberton North Carolina.

Retrieved from www.americantowns.com

City of Lumberton. (2009). History of Lumberton. Retrieved from

www.ci.lumberton.nc.us

28358 detailed profile. (2009). U.S. City Forum. Retrieved from

www.city-data.com.

28372 detailed profile. (2009). U.S City Forum. Retrieved from

www.city-data.com.

Lumberton, North Carolina Census and Community Profile

http://www.americantowns.com/nc/lumberton-information#History



Robeson Community College. (2008). History of the College. Retrieved from

www. Robeson.edu


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