2007 Focus Group Report

In 2007, The City of Durham’s departments of Neighborhood Improvement Services (NIS) and Community Development (DCD) partnered to conduct a series of focus groups to gather data on the quality of life in the community, assess the community’s needs, and improve citizen awareness of services provided in Northeast Central Durham (NECD). These focus groups were comprised of citizens that reside, work, and own businesses in Northeast Central Durham (NECD) and Partners Against Crime (PAC) District 1. NIS and DCD staff asked 7 focus groups questions pertaining to "quality of life" in NECD. These questions covered a wide range of topics:
  • Crime and police
  • Durham City and County services
  • Economic development
  • Education
  • Health
  • Housing and blight
This information will be used to inform potential community partners, both public and private, and contribute to a more comprehensive Neighborhood Quality Assessment (or Quality of Life Index Study) to begin in 2009.

Background Information on Participants
The 7 focus groups included members from various local organizations:
  • Campaign for Decent Housing
  • Cleveland Holloway
  • Economic Development/Small Business Development
  • Hispanic/Latino Residents of NECD
  • Maplewood Albright
  • PAC 1
  • Uplift East Durham
Of the participants in the focus groups 65% were homeowners. The majority of all focus group participants were business owners.

Focus Group Outcome Overview
The responses and feedback from the focus groups clearly indicate a need for positive changes in these focus areas. Participants indicated that if they were to receive assistance through a corporate partnership or by some other means, they would prefer to concentrate investments in the key areas discussed during each focus group. Citizens and staff understand that achieving such a change necessitates a long-term community-driven effort supported by both public and private sectors.

Focus group members wanted to partner with corporations to bring jobs and job training into NECD. Other priorities should include revitalizing the Angier/Driver Street corridor, improving the housing stock through grants and rehabilitation, increasing street lighting and signage, beautification and landscape efforts, creating a community marketing/public relations plan, and creating affordable housing - both rental and homeownership. Participants called for committed visible partnerships with local corporations to strengthen the community focus.

Most participants were satisfied with their neighborhood. However, the majority believed their neighborhoods were not safe. They indicated they would prefer to have traditional health services made available, since currently, health services are non-existent in the community. The education-related findings concluded that there are limited educational opportunities in the area. Focus group members wanted to increase job opportunities, development, and creation of new economic development opportunities in the NECD area.