The Star City is below both state and national average when it comes to public housing salaries. The average annual salary of people living in public housing in Roanoke is a little over $10,000, compared to over $11,000 state-wide and more than $12,000 nationally.
We've learned the people living in public housing who fall into this salary bracket may have part-time jobs, but none have full-time employment. Some say they struggled to recover from having their hours cut when the recession hit. Others are on disability or retirement.
Charles Tomlin says the economy hit him and his family hard. He lives in Roanoke's public housing, and he says morale around this area is low.
"These people down here are already told they aren't going to be nothing. Nobody's really invested in them to do anything besides pick up a trash can or cut some grass," Tomlin says. "Some people want more than that."
"We have a lot of families where they are under employed," says Glenda Edwards, the executive director for the Roanoke Redevelopment and Housing Authority.
Twenty-two percent of people living in Roanoke's public housing make from $1 to $5,000 annually, 32 percent make $5,000-10,000, and 18 percent make $10,00-$15,000.
Edwards says the numbers emphasize how great the need is in the Roanoke area. She says many of the people are on disability or retirement.
"We have folks who are living on extremely low income in their household, who, without this assistance, are not going to be able to meet basic needs."