What Should Northeast Ohio's Economic Recovery Look Like? Tell Us

Come join NEOSOJO at Mead House in Slavic Village on July 29 to discuss the child tax credit payments families are beginning to see in their bank accounts. [Rachel Dissell / NEOSOJO]
Come join NEOSOJO at Mead House in Slavic Village on July 29 to discuss the child tax credit payments families are beginning to see in their bank accounts. [Rachel Dissell / NEOSOJO]

By Conor Morris, for the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative

Northeast Ohio’s economy has suffered setback after setback in recent decades. There was the loss of major industrial players which led to the American Rust Belt decline. Then there was the 2008-2009 recession. And finally, the pandemic.

While other parts of the country suffered from these events, places like Cleveland and Akron have had a harder time rebounding than others, said Emily Campbell, associate director for the Center for Community Solutions in Cleveland.

“The other parts of the country recover much faster and much more completely than Northeast Ohio does,” Campbell said. “Our communities, and especially the city of Cleveland, continue to have higher rates of poverty and higher unemployment than the rest of the country.”

That’s why the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative (NEOSOJO) is embarking on a year-long reporting project on the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic. 

We want to highlight the unique problems this region faces as it tries to build a better economic future for all, not just for a privileged few. And we want to play a part in that story too, by engaging with the community; by highlighting tales of success; and by finding what’s working elsewhere, to see what solutions in other cities might also work here.

To start off our new year of coverage on the right foot, we’re embarking on a listening tour. You can help by taking our short survey assessing our community’s needs. Or, you can meet us at one of our upcoming events.

The first is a Common Ground discussion with the Cleveland Documenters on the new child tax credit and how it could help Cleveland families, set for 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 29 at University Settlement’s Mead House, 4909 Mead Ave., in Slavic Village.

We’d also like to meet people where they are, so if you have an event coming up where we could discuss the topic of economic recovery, we’d love to hear from you! Please email NEOSOJO Project Coordinator Sharon Broussard, at sjbrouss84@gmail.com.

NEOSOJO is a group of 18 news outlets in Cleveland, Akron and Kent, including Ideastream Public Media, working together to cover our region from the lens of solutions journalism. We spent the last year covering our communities’ response to COVID-19’s major impact on marginalized people, whether that be how Cleveland pivoted its strategy to house unsheltered people; how local churches leveraged their trust with the community to get people vaccinated; or exploring the gaps in aid people received for things like rent and utility bills.

You can follow NEOSOJO on Twitter and Facebook to keep up-to-date on our latest stories and upcoming events.

This story is sponsored by the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative, which is composed of 18-plus Northeast Ohio news outlets including Ideastream Public Media. Conor Morris is a corps member with Report for America. You can email him at conor@thedevilstrip.com.

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