Coming out while stuck inside: LGBTQ+ youth and young adults face unique mental health risks as pandemic rages on

When Tyler, a sophomore at Cleveland State University, started hormone replacement therapy two months before spring break, the last thing he expected was to spend the rest of the semester with his parents in Westbrook, New York. Tyler had been living with three other trans students he befriended through CSU’s LGBTQ+ Student Services before campus housing closed in mid-March. When Tyler moved in with his parents, they were still uncomfortable with his trans identity and were not using his preferred pronouns (he/his). 

“I wasn’t out in high school and college was the first place I felt like I was actually able to be myself,” Tyler said. “I felt like my sense of community was ripped away all at once.”

Those first few months of quarantine, when Tyler didn’t have a laptop and couldn’t access CSU’s online counseling or the LGBTQ+ center’s virtual drop-ins, were emotionally rough. “The conversations I had with my parents were conversations I was not prepared for, especially being on hormones.

Red tape remains a high hurdle, but Cleveland still able to provide rental assistance to pandemic-stricken tenants

This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism . Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Tenants facing eviction in Cleveland Housing Court can access a temporary measure of relief through the current federal moratorium on evictions, and through the city and county’s rental aid programs. But, they’re no silver bullet. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) eviction moratorium, started on Sept. 1, was meant to pause pandemic-related eviction cases against tenants, to provide a measure of relief during these challenging times.

Inconsistent Ballot Application Data Leads to Undercount of Disenfranchised Voters

Haley Belisle, a recent graduate of Ohio Northern University, was baffled this spring when the Hardin County Board of elections rejected her application to vote absentee in the state’s presidential primary. 

The problem was her signature on the application: It didn’t match her voter registration signature. “When I originally registered, I was just out of high school and I apparently signed my name in a very curly cursive, which I don’t do any more,” she said. The 24-year-old got a new application and replicated the original style, she said, effectively “forging my own signature.” 

Belisle was able to cast her ballot. 

That wasn’t the case for all potential voters in Ohio’s presidential primary. 

This summer, Eye on Ohio set out to examine how many absentee ballot applications were rejected, why, and how voters could avoid those mistakes. The analysis of millions of Ohio applications from the state’s 88 counties revealed a patchwork and unreliable system for tracking the requests that makes it near-impossible to accurately know how many voters, if any, were disenfranchised. It also called into question the accuracy of information collected by state election officials on rejected applications. 

With only weeks until the 2020 presidential election, and lingering concerns about the novel coronavirus, voters are applying for absentee ballots at a record pace. 

That, along with President Donald Trump’s attacks on the use of mail-in ballots,  though not supported by research, could bring magnified attention to the process, especially in a swing state like Ohio where Trump and Sen. Joe Biden are swapping narrow leads in the polls. 

Applications for mail-in ballots received relatively little attention in the past, as most fair election advocates concentrated efforts on whether absentee and provisional ballots were counted.

How can students learn at home if they have multiple homes or no home at all?

One group succeeds with holistic approach; demand still exceeds supply

Sylvia Rucker has been a caretaker most of her life. As the head cook at Hannah Gibbons Elementary School in Collinwood, she prepares meals for approximately 250 students daily, and has four adult children of her own. But when her oldest daughter died unexpectedly in the summer of 2019, Rucker was suddenly thrust into the role of parent once again. “My daughter went into the hospital with a toothache. She passed away a week later, and left behind three kids,” says Rucker.

Why did 77 Ohio prisoners die of COVID-19, but just 10 in Pennsylvania?

A look at how overcrowding and poor design contributed to two of the worst national outbreaks

This article was provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. For the first two months after the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S., Ohio’s response set an example. Thanks to an early shutdown order, the state’s per-capita deaths from the virus as of late April were less than half of those in neighboring Pennsylvania, a state with similar demographics. But inside the two states’ prison systems, it was a different story. 

By late April , the death rate from COVID-19 in Ohio prisons was 22 per 100,000, a rate more than 4 ½ times the overall Ohio rate and nearly twice the national rate. 

As of August 14, there have been 77 inmate deaths known to be caused by COVID-19, and another 10 suspected— a rate of 160 deaths per 100,000 people.

Ohio Schools & Nonprofits Scramble to Add Remote Learning Options For Students With Limited Connectivity

This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join our free mailing list as this helps us provide more public service reporting. When districts switched to remote learning in the spring, the COVID-19 pandemic revealed a glaring divide: for example two-thirds of students in Cleveland Metropolitan School District didn’t have access to a device, and 40 percent of families didn’t have Internet access at home, according to a survey of parents conducted by CMSD . With Cleveland Metropolitan School District soon returning to school in a remote-only format, the District is currently in a mad dash to prepare students, teachers and families for their first week of school with the COVID-19 pandemic still looming large. The District has its work cut out for it.

How can COVID-19 be stopped among homeless communities? One Ohio city looks to hotels

This article  is part of the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative, a project composed of 16 Greater Cleveland news outlets including Eye on Ohio, which covers the whole state.  To support us, please sign up for our free newsletter or text 216-867-6327. A cherry-colored 10-speed rests inside the door of room 123 at a hotel on the west side. It’s overturned, forks facing the ceiling, a deflated front tire slung over a pedal. Abel Currie has crisscrossed Cleveland on the vintage bike, sometimes on a shady park trail, other times packing a lunch and heading to the lakefront. Lately, his rides have been an escape from the stresses of the coronavirus pandemic, which have created chaos, especially for those experiencing homelessness.

Kindred care: Congolese refugee community takes care of its own, and others, during COVID-19

Every Wednesday afternoon, members of the Congolese Community of Greater Cleveland (CCGC) in Cleveland’s Clark-Fulton neighborhood file onto Elijah Kidjana’s porch to grab donated boxes of fruit and vegetables. Some have lost their jobs due to coronavirus shutdowns. Others are searching for ways to feed children who can no longer access free school lunches. When asked whether he’s worried about so many home visitors in the midst of a pandemic, Kidjana just tightens his face mask and laughs. “There are many things that will kill the Congolese people before coronavirus,” he says.