NORTH LUFKIN LOOKS TO THE FUTURE
In 2015, the foundation launched a project to better understand the assets and priorities of the North Lufkin community. The goal of the project was to improve lives and strengthen the under-resourced neighborhood of North Lufkin by building on local assets to stimulate economic development and growth while providing social services to those who need a helping hand.
Although there are assets in the community, poverty is a persistent problem in the North Lufkin community. According to the U.S. Census, the median household income for North Lufkin is around $30,833 a year–30% lower than the Angelina County median, and almost 42% lower than the Texas median. Almost 32% of North Lufkin residents live in poverty, compared to 19% in Angelina County and 17% in Texas. Those under the age of 18 fair the worst, with almost 46% living in poverty, compared to 30% in Angelina County and 25% in Texas.
To begin the project, the foundation contracted with researchers from the Stephen F. Austin State University (SFASU) School of Social Work to conduct a study using appreciative inquiry. The researchers conducted interviews and focus groups with residents, and business and community leaders over many months to identify issues, assets, and goals for improvement. Additionally, residents of North Lufkin met on a weekly basis with representatives of SFASU, the foundation, and local organization and agencies to discuss community priorities and to learn about services available to the community.
The study will conclude in summer 2017 with a report to be released sometime thereafter. In support of the North Lufkin community, the foundation has already made several commitments.
- We participated in attracting to North Lufkin the new headquarters building for the Deep East Texas Council of Governments.
- The foundation assisted in reopening the Jones Park swimming pool.
- We contributed to establishing the East Texas Community Health Services clinic as the only physician’s office currently operating in North Lufkin.
The foundation has a history of supporting organizations working in and for the benefit of North Lufkin, and it looks forward to reviewing the SFASU report to determine next steps.