Star City receives grant for immigrant integration plan, make city more welcoming

Local News

Roanoke is one of twelve cities across the country to receive the Gateways for Growth Challenge grant.

It’s a grant that will provide technical assistance to create an immigrant integration plan for the city.

“I think we want to make sure we’re welcoming to these folks,” said Wayne Leftwich, senior city planner.

“Many of these people are coming to the Roanoke Valley, and we want to make sure they’re welcome. They have access to the services that they can have, that they’re well connected within the community and that they feel apart of the community.”

Leftwich says refugees make up 5.5 percent of the population in the Roanoke Valley, but account for more than 30 percent of the growth. 

With those numbers, it’s important to make their transition into the area a priority.

The immigrant integration plan will include a steering committee to help bring resources like healthcare, housing, language skills, and transportation to refugees.

To kick off the planning process, the City of Roanoke will host a launch party Tuesday from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Williamson Road Library Branch.

A survey is open until the end of July for members of the immigrant population to fill out. Feedback will be used to help the steering committee make policies for the immigration integration plan.

City leaders hope to have a draft plan made by the mid-September.

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