14 March 2013
A Seed within a Flourishing County
Leesburg is a charming town in Northern Virginia, its motto “the hometown of the 21st century” seems to rein true as it is often characterized as the perfect place to raise kids; primarily due to the excellent school system and the low unemployment and crime rate. In 2011 CNN Money ranked Leesburg fourth on the “Best 100 Places to Live” list in the nation. Moreover, Leesburg is a historically rich town; it was home to one of the founding fathers, James Monroe. Monroe resided in Leesburg for many years and it was also where he gave life to the Monroe Doctrine. Leesburg is the governmental center of the Loudoun County, otherwise known as the county seat. Leesburg is located within the eastern region of Loudoun which is the more development filled side of the county. Furthermore, the public school system and department of social services, among other public entities, are run by the county instead of the town itself. The population of Leesburg, according to the 2010 census, is 42,616. On the other hand, the population of Loudoun County is 312,311 as of 2010. Leesburg along with the rest of eastern Loudoun has gone through an explosion of growth within the past years. Loudoun’s close vicinity to the nation’s capital makes it a very attractive place for young professionals and families to live in. Suburbanization in Loudoun is explosive; the evidence speaks for itself as Loudoun is Virginia’s fastest growing county with 84.15% population grown since 2000. The median family income in the county is also the highest in the state at about $130,493 a year. As of 2010 the population of races is moderately diverse as Loudoun is made up of 67% White, 7% Black, 12% Hispanic, and 14% of Asian individuals. However, there is a side of Loudoun County that most people do not know about: it is that Loudoun has an estimated 3.4% poverty rate, although low in comparison to the rest of the nation, Loudoun is overshadowed by the fact that about 8,000 members of its community are suffering from the different faces of poverty. Therefore, in order for Loudoun County to rise to the peak of the human rights scale, it still has some work left to do. On October 24, 2007, as a result of the National Symposium on Poverty and Economic Security, the Loudoun Action Community Advisory Board decided to hold Loudoun’s very first symposium on poverty, mainly in order to place Loudoun first in the race for wealthiest county in the nation, the symposium was titled “Cutting Poverty in Half” (Cutting Poverty in Half 3). The symposium was the first time Loudoun had evaluated the needs of the community. In the discussion of human rights in Loudoun, one goal has been that by 2020 adequate healthcare should be available to all Loudoun County residents. Another goal set by the county has been for the necessity to eradicate 50% of Loudoun’s poverty by 2017. On the one hand, Ex- Director of Loudoun County Department of Family Services, Robert Chirles, argues in defense of the 8,000 members of the community that lack basic needs and are in risk of illness or homelessness in a place where the cost of housing is too high for someone earing minimum wage to afford. He also argues that human service agencies and faith based organizations do not do enough to take care of the needs Loudoun’s at-risk community. On the other hand, the Loudoun Human Services Network identified that while private and public agencies do a very good job of catering to the needs of Loudoun’s vulnerable- it is the high rate of growth that make this issue a problem- essentially, a high rate of growth will result in the continued growth of needs in the community. However, amongst the debate of what Loudoun needs and is lacking to do for its vulnerable citizens, it scored a 90 on the Human Rights Temperature Scale. This paper will assess why Loudoun County deserves and has rightly earned its high...