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The Annie E. Casey Foundation's annual Kids Count report showed that poverty remains an issue for Ohio's children. In 2011, 24% of Ohio children lived in poverty, up from 19% in 2005.

The Plain Dealer's Steven Litt drew connections between a series of seemingly-unrelated headlines to outline the "compelling overall narrative" of Northeast Ohio as a region "at odds with itself as it tries to figure out how to meet the 21st century."

The latest report on job sprawl by Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution said that the recession "helped drive a slight uptick in urban core job share in more than half of the nation's largest metro areas between 2007 and 2010." However, job sprawl was more pronounced in the five-county Greater Cleveland area (PDF) from 2000 to 2010. Of the nation's 100 largest metro areas, Greater Cleveland had the 19th-highest share of jobs located in outer-ring communities.

The Housing Research & Advocacy Center issued two of its yearly reports. The 2013 State of Fair Housing in Northeast Ohio (PDF) said that 2012 was the fourth consecutive year with a decline in the number of housing discrimination complaints, but estimated "that there are annually at least 33,690 instances of housing discrimination" in Greater Cleveland. Its Racial & Ethnic Disparities in 2011 Ohio Mortgage Lending (PDF) report said that "African Americans and Hispanics continue to have limited access to fair and equal credit."

Cool Cleveland columnist Mansfield Frazier said that land-use decisions in Cleveland's east side neighborhoods haven't benefited their African-American residents, and followed up with an interview with Streetsblog's Angie Schmitt about the equity issues surrounding the planned Opportunity Corridor. The corridor is one of several local projects competing for funding from the new Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission.

In the question-and-answer portion of his State of the City address, Cleveland Mayor Frank Jackson responded to a query about immigration by saying, "I believe in taking care of your own." He attracted criticism for Dan Moulthrop and others for his apparent anti-immigrant stance, but Mayor Jackson later issued a statement in which he said that "a Cleveland that 'takes care of its own' will ultimately attract people from all across the globe". At Cool Cleveland, Richey Piiparinen related his first-hand experiences about the power of immigration.

Soon after, members of the local business community expressed support for immigration policy reform at a Greater Cleveland Partnership forum. Some of the panelists discussed the issues on WCPN's Sound of Ideas. A Plain Dealer editorial said that "increased legal immigration may be the best way" to increase the region's economic and political clout, and an Akron Beacon Journal editorial said "it was heartening to see the gathering in Cleveland".

In this year's County Health Rankings, Cuyahoga County again finished in the bottom third of Ohio's 88 counties, ranking 67th in health outcomes and 45th in health factors. Geauga and Medina counties were again ranked highly. Cuyahoga County health officials are working to improve health issues through the Health Improvement Partnership. Nationally, residents of the unhealthiest counties died at more than twice the rate of those in the healthiest counties. Previous rankings: 2012, 2011, and 2010.

The Green City Growers greenhouse, the third Evergreen Cooperatives company, celebrated its grand opening on February 25. The 3.25-acre greenhouse in Cleveland's Central neighborhood is the largest urban food production greenhouse in the U.S. It will grow an estimated 3 million heads of lettuce and 300,000 pounds of herbs annually, and its 25 workers are on their way to becoming employee-owners. Stakeholders discussed the company on WCPN's Sound of Ideas.

A report from the Asian American Center for Advancing Justice presents demographic information and policy recommendations about Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders in 12 Midwest states. A Community of Contrasts (PDF) includes a section on the seven-county Greater Cleveland area. Between 2000 and 2010, Asian-Americans were the area's fastest-growing racial group, and represented its only majority foreign-born racial group. Asian Services In Action, Inc. has additional demographic data.

A Plain Dealer editorial addressed the unequal levels of reinvestment in Cleveland's neighborhoods, saying that "it's not right and it's not wise" and that "the persistent, intertwined problems of crime, poverty and unemployment, jeopardize the city's overall renaissance and could irreparably harm the effort to create effective schools."

Last month, local officials celebrated the groundbreaking for an urban farm at West 41st Street and Memphis Avenue in Cleveland's Old Brooklyn neighborhood. Koinonia Homes, in partnership with the City of Cleveland and the Cuyahoga Land Bank, will operate an urban farm at the 2.3-acre site of the former Memphis School. The vocational farm will include eight fields, two greenhouses, and a poultry building. A Plain Dealer editorial said it shows "what effective incubators for positive change collaboration and innovation can be."

The sixth report in the Paying More for the American Dream series "examines systemic inequities in the mortgage market" (PDF) in seven American cities, including Cleveland. It found that African-American and Latino homebuyers were significantly more likely to receive government-backed loans than white homebuyers. The government-backed loans are typically more expensive than conventional mortgages.

In the fourth and final forum in the Why Place Matters series, Dr. Camara Jones spoke at the City Club about disparities and the social determinants of heath and equity. Audio (MP3, 51.4 MB) and video of her talk are available.

The U.S. Department of Justice reached a $175 million fair housing settlement with Wells Fargo Bank to resolve allegations that the bank discriminated against qualified African-American and Hispanic borrowers. The settlement includes $50 million to help neighborhoods in eight metropolitan areas with large numbers of discrimination victims, including Greater Cleveland. The area could receive more than $6 million.

Steven Litt of the Plain Dealer said that the ongoing renovation of the former St. Luke's Hospital in Cleveland's Buckeye neighborhood "embodies a compassionate vision that combines historic preservation, strong contemporary architecture and urban design, high educational aspirations for Cleveland's children, affordable housing and an emphasis on mass transit." Joel Ratner of Neighborhood Progress Inc. described the project in the Cleveland Jewish News.

Urban agriculture continues to rise in Cleveland neighborhoods.

HBO recently aired The Weight of the Nation, a four-part documentary on obesity in the United States, and made the series available online. It highlighted the 24-year disparity in life expectancy between Hough and Lyndhurst. A panel discussed the issues at the Great Lakes Science Center, and the City of Cleveland held its first Healthy Cleveland Summit. Earlier this year, the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods issued a set of three data briefs that describe health trends in Cleveland neighborhoods. A Plain Dealer editorial urged coordinated regional action to promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Cuyahoga County's scores improved slightly in the third annual County Health Rankings from the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Among Ohio's 88 counties, Cuyahoga County was 65th in heath outcomes and 53rd in health factors. Geauga County and Medina County were among the top-ranked counties in the state. The report also supplied data on nationwide trends.

In its yearly report on racial disparities in mortgage lending (PDF), the Housing Advocacy and Research Center found that "African Americans and Hispanics continue to have limited access to fair and equal credit" in Ohio and that they "faced higher denial rates and high-cost lending rates than whites."

Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink, spoke about equity at the City Club on Friday (MP3, 53.1 MB). The talk was part of the Why Place Matters series.

Update: video of the talk is now available.

A new report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University looked at changes in poverty rates in Northeast Ohio communities between 2000 and 2010. The figures reflect rising poverty across the region and the growth of suburban poverty.

Update: the Plain Dealer reported on the poverty figures.

CMHA received a $300,000 federal planning grant to develop a plan for revitalizing the Cedar Extension public housing development in Cleveland's Central neighborhood. It was one of 13 Choice Neighborhoods Planning Grants awarded by HUD across the United States. Choice Neighborhoods is a signature program of the White House Neighborhood Revitalization Initiative.

The Cuyahoga Land Bank and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development renewed their agreement for a second one-year term. HUD will continue to transfer low-value properties (PDF) to the land bank for $100.

The land bank will also partner with the International Services Center in the new Discovering Home program (PDF). Through the program, the land bank will provide houses to refugees settling in the county, and the refugees will participate in renovating the houses. The first house in the program is on Hopkins Avenue in Lakewood.

In the second event of the Why Place Matters series, former HUD Deputy Director and King County, Washington Executive Ron Sims spoke at the City Club on Wednesday (MP3, 57.9 MB). He discussed several topics, including the role of geography as a determinant of health.

Update: video of his talk is also available.

Update 2: the Civic Commons radio show explored the issue.

The Center for Community Solutions issued a set of 20 heath, social, and economic indicators for 16 Northeast Ohio counties through its Northeast Ohio Regional Indicators and Objectives initiative.

Update: the Plain Dealer looked at the income inequality indicator and the region's rising disparity.

Researchers at the Brookings Institution analyzed U.S. Census Bureau data and found that concentrated poverty increased over the past decade, and that it nearly doubled in Midwestern metropolitan areas. They added that "the picture today likely looks quite a bit worse than much of [the] report reflects." The five-county Greater Cleveland area saw an 8.0% increase in its concentrated poverty rate and the City of Cleveland experienced a 13.1% increase.

A new paper from PolicyBridge (PDF) draws connections between the social determinants of health in Greater Cleveland and the area's economic competitiveness. It identifies relevant policy areas and makes recommendations for increasing local health and wealth, and says that "recognizing the importance of personal physical and mental well-being to the overall region's economic well-being would be a critical first step toward a more vibrant Northeast Ohio."

Burten, Bell, Carr Development, Inc. received a $759,374 grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for its MC2 Food Access Initiative. It's intended to address the food desert in Kinsman by establishing a fresh food center with a market, cafe, and community kitchen.

A new report from the Brookings Institution examined the increasing use of housing vouchers in suburban areas across the United States. Of the nation's 100 largest metropolitan areas, the Akron metropolitan area saw the most growth and the Cleveland metropolitan area the 15th-most between 2000 and 2008.

The St. Luke's Foundation awarded $1.8 million in grants (PDF), including $37,063 to the City Club to conduct a series on the geographic aspects of health disparities. The first event in the four-part Why Place Matters series will feature Dr. Gail Christopher (PDF) of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on October 21. The Levin College Forum will host an event on health disparities on October 20.

Update: audio (MP3, 52.8 MB) and video of Dr. Christopher's talk are now available.

Update 2: guests on WDOK's Cleveland Connection show also discussed the topic.

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Green City Growers greenhouse in Cleveland will take place on October 17. The facility in Central will be the third business in the Evergreen Cooperatives network.

Update: the Plain Dealer has more details.

In its annual release of American Community Survey statistics, the U.S. Census Bureau published data covering more than 40 topics for 2010, including income, poverty, and educational attainment. Median income declined and poverty rates increased in most of the nation's metropolitan areas, including Greater Cleveland. Suburban poverty rates continued to rise. The City of Cleveland remained among the nation's poorest large cities.

Between 2000 and 2010, the ten least-segregated metropolitan areas in the United States saw greater population growth than the ten most-segregated. The least-segregated metro areas were in the South and West, while the most-segregated (including Greater Cleveland) were in the Midwest and Northeast.

A new report from the Planning and Community Health Research Center offers an overview of food policy councils and how planners can participate in them, based on the experiences of efforts in four cities, including the Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

The Faster Times interviewed Joe Cimperman about the City of Cleveland's food justice efforts.

(via Fresh Water)

A report from NAACP includes environmental justice scores for the 431 coal-fired power plants in the U.S. and named the Lake Shore Power Plant in Glenville as the nation's sixth-most harmful plant for low-income communities and communities of color. Leaders of the local NAACP branch say that the plant should remain open.

In the fifth report (PDF) in the Paying More for the American Dream series, a group of nonprofits examined mortgage refinance lending in seven metropolitan areas. In the five-county Greater Cleveland area, residents of neighborhoods with large minority populations were denied loans at a much higher rate than homeowners in predominantly white neighborhoods.

The second annual County Health Rankings from the University of Wisconsin and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked the health of counties by state. In Ohio, Cuyahoga County again ranked well in health factors and lower in health outcomes. Both rankings were improvements over last year's scores. Geauga and Medina counties appeared near the top of both lists.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial and PBS's The Rundown weblog reflected on the report.

The Kresge Foundation awarded $6 million in grants, including $750,000 to a coalition in East Cleveland that will work to improve the health outcomes of young people. The East Cleveland Teen Collaborative will address the social determinants of health for the City's youths.

The Housing Research & Advocacy Center prepared an analysis of the occupancy codes of communities (PDF) in six Greater Cleveland counties. The report "examines limits on the total number and configuration of residents allowed in dwellings" and its data was "collected to make the varied requirements easily referenced and comparable."

Researchers at the Case Center for Reducing Health Disparities.are studying the impacts of foreclosures on residents who remained in neighborhoods with high foreclosure rates. Their work will focus on Cleveland's Detroit-Shoreway and Hough neighborhoods.

Research conducted by the Brookings Institution and the Reinvestment Fund examined access to supermarkets in 10 metropolitan areas, including Cleveland. In the Cleveland MSA (PDF), they found that 11.3% of the population lives in areas with poor access to supermarkets. Results of the analysis for the 10 profiled areas and for the entire nation are available at the Reinvestment Fund's PolicyMap.

On Tuesday, the U.S. Census Bureau published data from the 2009 American Community Survey, and the release reflects the major impacts of the recession. Figures are available for areas with a population of at least 65,000. In Northeast Ohio and across the United States, median household incomes declined and poverty rates rose. The City of Cleveland's estimated 35.0% poverty rate was second-highest in the nation, trailing only Detroit.

Data compiled by the Housing Research & Advocacy Center indicates that in 2008, Clevelanders received subprime mortgages at a rate more than twice the national average. They also found that minority homebuyers in Cuyahoga County are more likely to obtain high-interest mortgages than whites.

Estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau on Thursday show that the poverty rate in the United States was 14.3% in 2009, up from 13.2% in 2008, while median household income remained flat. Minority populations were disproportionately affected. In Ohio, the poverty rate decreased from 13.7% to 13.3%, a change within the survey's margin of error. Median household income in Ohio fell from $49,811 to $46,318, below the national median of $49,945. The Census Bureau will release more detailed figures later this month.

Update: an Akron Beacon Journal editorial concludes that the numbers make a "compelling case for both short-term measures that provide relief and longer-term measures that will reduce poverty."

Update 2: WCPN's Sound of Ideas explored suburban poverty in Northeast Ohio.

The Center for Community Solutions and Cleveland State University jointly published An Analysis of Health Disparities in Northeast Ohio (PDF). They found that "African Americans, and to a lesser extent, Hispanics, have significantly poorer health status, access to care and health care utilization than do Whites" in the eight-county Greater Cleveland area. Earlier this year, the Cuyahoga County Board of Health released an update of its Child and Family Health Services Indicators Report (PDF). It includes an analysis of maternal and child heath indicators for each community in the county.

Richard M. Todd of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis examined residential foreclosure trends for non-owner-occupied properties in Cuyahoga County. Building upon research conducted by Case Western Reserve University, he concluded that "the incidence of non-occupant foreclosures in Cuyahoga County was very high by national standards and was even higher for loans to minority borrowers made by non-local lenders in low-cost, low-income, minority neighborhoods" for loans originated in 2005–2006.

(via the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland)

Organizers of the Evergreen Cooperatives are preparing to launch their third employee-owned business. The Green City Growers Cooperative will operate a 5½-acre hydroponic greenhouse in Cleveland's Central neighborhood.

Update: a Plain Dealer editorial concludes that the "commitment to go from grit to green offers a healthier future not just for neighborhoods but for the local economy."

Huntington National Bank announced plans to invest $100 million in affordable housing developments across Ohio over the next 30 months. The funds are expected to leverage an additional $150 million.

Building a Better Bridge (PDF) is a new policy brief from Policy Bridge. It makes recommendations for increasing social capital by creating sustained opportunities for public engagement from diverse constituent groups.

A new multi-state report (PDF) by a coalition of seven organizations examined the lending patterns of four large national banks in seven metropolitan areas. It found that between 2006 and 2008, prime mortgage lending decreased disproportionately in minority neighborhoods. In Cleveland, prime purchase and refinance lending fell by 42.7% in predominately white neighborhoods and 68.5% in minority neighborhoods.

Activist and consultant Majora Carter spoke at a City Club in the City event on Tuesday. She told the audience at St. James AME Church about environmental justice and stories of her experiences in the South Bronx. Audio of her talk (MP3, 52.1 MB) is available.

A group of Northeast Ohio public health and medical professionals recently met in Akron to discuss the findings (PDF) of the County Health Rankings report. Their next step will be to develop strategies for improving community health outcomes.

A new food co-op opened on Carnegie Avenue. The Central Community Co-op will supply fresh produce to residents of Cleveland's Central neighborhood.

Vicky Poole and Jack Hamilton have begun operating Gardens Under Glass, a hydroponic garden in the Galleria at Erieview in downtown Cleveland. The project is funded by a $30,000 start-up grant from the Civic Innovation Lab. Meanwhile, panelists on NEOtropolis discussed food policy and access to fresh foods.

Update: Fast Company also reported on the Galleria.

A new report from the University of Wisconsin's Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation ranked health outcomes and health factors in the United States by county for each state. In Ohio, Geauga and Medina counties were among the state's healthiest. Cuyahoga County ranked highly in clinical care, but poorly in morbidity, social and economic factors, and physical environment.

Update: the report was the subject of a Sound of Ideas program on WCPN.

This year, Case Western Reserve University's Regionally Speaking programs will focus on the partnership between the university's Social Justice Alliance and Institute and the City of East Cleveland. Sunday's Plain Dealer examined new East Cleveland Mayor Gary Norton's plans to revive his community.

The New Republic looked at the public transit cuts in Lorain County and their impacts on the unemployed and underemployed.

A new report from the Brookings Institution shows the growth in suburban poverty between 2000 and 2008. Poverty levels in the suburbs of the nation's largest metropolitan areas increased almost five times faster than the levels of core cities. The unemployment rate also rose more quickly in the suburbs. In the Cleveland metro area, the share of the poor living in the suburbs grew by 9.3%, the second-largest increase in the nation. An earlier report examined the changes from 1999 to 2005.

Update: WKSU's Jeff St. Clair interviewed Elizabeth Kneebone, the report's author.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health found that African Americans are more likely to live in proximity to a polluting industrial facility than white Americans. The disparity was especially acute in Midwestern cities.

The Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine today announced the establishment of the Prevention Research Center for Healthy Neighborhoods. With funding from the Centers for Disease Control, the new center will "address common health issues faced in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods in and around Greater Cleveland."

In a Plain Dealer op-ed, Terry Allan of the Cuyahoga County Board of Health highlights inequities in public health faced by residents in disadvantaged neighborhoods.

CWRU's Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development mapped changes in food stamp recipients over time to illustrate the shifting demographics of Cuyahoga County.

Additional 2008 American Community Survey data released by the Census Bureau includes information about income, poverty (PDF), and food stamp receipts. The poverty rate rose in Ohio and the Midwest, while in Northeast Ohio, the number of people with incomes near the poverty line increased. An analysis by the Brookings Institution predicts that poverty rates will remain elevated for years.

Family Homelessness in Cuyahoga County, a new paper from the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences, examined data on families at risk of becoming homeless and on those using residential homeless services. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development also released a pair of reports about changes in homelessness at the national level. The 2008 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (PDF) found increasing rates of family homelessness in suburban and rural areas. Cleveland and Cuyahoga County were one of nine areas studied in the agency's first Homeless Pulse Project (PDF) report.

A University of Pennsylvania epidemiologist says that there is a link between crime and vacant properties in urban areas. His research indicates that a rise in the number of vacant lots correlates with increased rates of aggravated assaults.

A Plain Dealer editorial on the new job sprawl report from the Brookings Institution concludes that "metropolitan areas are America's economic engines, and as long as the cores are eroding, it will be harder to create and sustain jobs."

Elizabeth Kneebone of the Brookings Institution analyzed data from 1998 to 2006 to update research on job sprawl in 98 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States. She found that private sector employment continued to decentralize. Over 45% of employees work more than 10 miles away from downtowns, compared to the 21% who work within three miles of city centers. Greater Cleveland was one of 53 large metropolitan areas classified as experiencing rapid decentralization, with 45.7% of jobs located more than 10 miles away and 16.2% of jobs located within three miles of downtown as of 2006.

A coalition of local environmental and community organizations will hold the Northeast Ohio Environmental Justice Town Hall Meeting on March 7 at Cleveland State's Levin College of Urban Affairs.

Persisting Racial & Ethnic Disparities in Ohio Mortgage Lending, a new report from the Housing Research & Advocacy Center, found that upper-income African Americans in the state were denied home mortgages more often than low-income whites. It also found that they were more likely to receive high-cost subprime loans.

"The Enduring Challenge of Concentrated Poverty in America" is a new report from the Federal Reserve System and the Brookings Institution. It features case studies of 16 diverse communities from across the United States, including Cleveland's Central neighborhood (PDF). Alan Berube of the Brookings Institution offers suggestions for federal policies to address concentrated poverty.

With the foreclosure crisis increasing the supply of abandoned homes in Cleveland and East Cleveland, more of the area's homeless are squatting in the vacant houses. Advocates for the homeless are working to establish a program that would allow the skilled homeless to take possession of abandoned homes in exchange for repairing them.

The Ethicurean summarized the the inaugural Northeast Ohio Food Congress, saying that it "offered a feast of possibilities, and there were plenty of ideas left over to take home and share."

Update: the Plain Dealer and GreenCityBlueLake also have reports on the event.

The first Northeast Ohio Food Congress will be held at Hiram College on November 7-8. It will feature "contemporary local perspectives, informative presentations, tasty local eats, and inspiring field trips." The registration deadline is November 5.

Yesterday, the U.S. Census Bureau released annual income, poverty, and health insurance coverage statistics from the 2007 American Community Survey. In Cuyahoga County, the median household income grew from $41,522 in 2006 to $44,358 in 2007 (a 6.8% increase), while the poverty rate rose from 14.8% to 15.5% (a 4.7% increase). The City of Cleveland's poverty rate also rose, from 27.0% in 2006 to 29.5% in 2007, the nation's second-highest figure among big cities. Detroit had the highest poverty rate for the second consecutive year.

On Friday, the Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority pledged make at least 482 of its housing units fully accessible to disabled residents within seven years.

This week's Free Times includes another look at the foreclosure crisis in Cleveland and its disproportional impacts on African Americans.

Pathways to Foreclosure, a new report from the Center on Urban Poverty and Community Development at Case Western Reserve University, says that subprime lending accounted for 84% of the foreclosures on home loans within Cuyahoga County in 2005 and 2006. It also says that lenders targeted African American borrowers and neighborhoods for subprime loans, similar to previous redlining problems. Meanwhile, today's Sound of Ideas show discussed a report released last week that detailed the impacts of foreclosures on renters.

Brad Masi of the New Agrarian Center describes how community gardening can be used to combat food deserts, using a new community garden at Huron Hospital in East Cleveland as an example.

Ohio Green Communities, a collaborative dedicated to funding to affordable green housing, named three Cleveland developments as 2007 Ohio Green Communities Projects. They are Cogswell House, Village Green Elderly, and Tremont Pointe II.

The Plain Dealer is presenting a special series this week, in conjunction with WCPN, on Cleveland's Mount Pleasant neighborhood. The series tells stories about the area's history, residents, problems, and potential solutions.

With Enterprise Community Partners holding its annual conference in Cleveland this week, co-founder Patricia Rouse wrote about the importance of affordable housing, saying, "Permanent affordable housing is the life blood of any movement to end poverty."

Panelists at the City Club on Thursday said that Cleveland needs a regional approach to address its homelessness problem. Audio of the event (MP3, 26.7 MB) is available online.

Ohio Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher will speak to the Cuyahoga Affordable Housing Alliance on October 1 at 1:30 p.m. at US Bank Center on Euclid Avenue. The event is free and open to the public.

On Tuesday, the US Census Bureau published its annual American Community Survey figures on income and poverty. Cleveland was ranked as the fourth poorest major city in the nation, an improvement over last year's number one ranking. The data showed that poverty remains a serious issue in cities across Ohio. In anticipation of the release, Mayor Jackson appeared on WCPN's Sound of Ideas to discuss poverty and other topics.

In the third article in their series on the foreclosure crisis, the Free Times explores the tactics used by government attorneys in predatory lending investigations, as well as the statistics indicating that minority populations are targeted by predatory lenders.

NOACA is hosting a series of public meetings across Northeast Ohio this month to gather input about strategies for the Job Access & Reverse Commute and New Freedom public transportation programs. The agency is also soliciting feedback via an online survey.

Recent Plain Dealer editorials say that "Greater Cleveland would benefit tremendously" from an expansion of the Continental Airlines hub at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, that the new Presidents' Council report on regionalism and equity is a "reminder that one of the most important goals of regional cooperation should be to improve the lives of as many people as possible," and that the planned Chagrin Falls arts district should make the Village "even more irresistible."

In this week's Cool Cleveland, Mansfield B. Frazier shares his thoughts about regionalism, the role of minorities, and the recent Presidents' Council report. "The question Blacks are asking is: Can regionalism be used to correct past injustices and imbalances in political power, or – similar to Louisville, KY where half of the Black elected officials lost their jobs due to government consolidation – will we again (as per usual) get the short end of the stick?"

The Presidents' Council, a group of local African American business leaders, will unveil "Regionalism: Growing Together to Expand Opportunity to All" this evening. The report offers recommendations for how regional cooperation can benefit the poor and minorities. Public forums will be held to gather input on the suggestions, and Cleveland officials will create a plan based on the study within 60 to 90 days.

(Update: The Plain Dealer and WCPN have more information about the report.)

The State of Poverty in Ohio 2007 (PDF), a new report from the Center for Community Solutions, says that as the national economy was improving, poverty and job losses went up in Ohio.

The Plain Dealer explored the introduction of supportive housing programs in Cleveland. Emerald Commons, the City's first supportive housing development, opened in December and will be dedicated on Thursday. A complex in Glenville is scheduled to open this winter, and construction of one near MetroHealth Medical Center should begin this summer.

(Update: Tuesday's Sound of Ideas show on WCPN discussed the topic in more detail.)

A Plain Dealer editorial says that the City of Cleveland may purchase the North Point Inn on Superior Avenue for use as a men's homeless shelter because of overcrowding at the Lakeside Avenue shelter.

A new report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development says that there were 754,000 homeless people in the country in 2005. The one-night survey counted 2,208 homeless people (PDF) in Cuyahoga County, but advocates for the homeless feel that the actual number is higher.

The City Club has posted the audio of Angela Glover Blackwell's talk (MP3, 19.8 MB) about equitable development on Friday. Earlier this month, PolicyLink issued Shared Prosperity, Stronger Regions: An Agenda for Rebuilding America's Older Core Cities, a report that examined innovative programs in five cities, including Cleveland.

The growing problem of suburban poverty continues to attract attention, and several Cleveland suburbs served as examples in a recent Newsweek article. Meanwhile, the Plain Dealer examined how the problem is affecting Medina County.

Angela Glover Blackwell, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of PolicyLink, will speak at the City Club on February 23 about equitable development.

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