Federal programs exist, but how easy are they to access? Rashidah Abdulhaqq worries her electricity and heat will be shut off.
These are vital services during normal times, but especially during the winter, and especially when she has a portable oxygen tank she carts around to keep herself alive. Flanked by several windows wrapped in plastic to better insulate her drafty Cleveland home, Abdulhaqq said she’s been trying for almost three months to get an application in for several programs to help her with her utility bills. Struggling with bills? Check out this guide created to help by the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative and Black Girl Media.
Early statistics from Cleveland's Right to Counsel program show promising results - but what will happen when that moratorium ends? East Side Cleveland resident Dennis Eads ran into some trouble paying rent last year. Eads, a father of five, said he was thankful to have kept his job at a warehouse in the Cleveland area despite the pandemic. But, some of his children got sick, which meant he couldn’t go to work. “I had to quarantine at the house; I couldn’t go outside, couldn’t go to work, couldn’t get paid,” he said.
State made $1.2 billion in accidental payments, which could be forgiven
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. When Matthew Bishop started getting Pandemic Unemployment Assistance a year ago, it pulled him out of a tight spot. Bishop, who runs a small company called Gutenberg Author Services, lost all his customers when the economy imploded in March, and had moved out of his group house and in with his parents because he couldn’t make rent. PUA was a lifeline.
ByLucia Walinchus, Marisa Twigg and Jaelynn Grisso |
Almost a year later police still won’t identify officer who attacked journalists; Reporters say they mostly work without incident but face an increase in online threats
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the nonprofit Matter News. Please join Eye on Ohio’s free mailing list and follow Matter News as this helps us provide more public service reporting. Who is this person? Nearly a year after Columbus police officers pepper sprayed journalists covering protests against police brutality, The Columbus Division Police still have not named the officer shouting “I don’t care!” and turning eyes into agony, as those reporters shouted, “We are members of the news media!” and held up their badges.
A police spokesman said the incident is still “under investigation” but, contrary to previous precedent, declined to name the officer involved. In public records requests, Police said no officer on that crowded street had body cam video of the incident, and no officer has faced discipline, though the inquiry is still ongoing.
In the early months of the pandemic, Cleveland Councilwoman Jasmin Santana, who represents a West Side ward with the densest population of Latinos in the city, said health department officials reassured her that when the city released urgent health updates, they would be translated into Spanish.
It didn’t happen.
The city put out public releases, sometimes daily, as the pandemic evolved – about safety precautions, work restrictions, and how many people were infected with the virus – but the information didn’t seem to make its way to the Spanish-speaking residents in Santana’s ward, where close to 40% of residents are Hispanic.
When she pressed again, this time with city communications officials, Santana said she was told the city didn’t have resources for translation.
One high-ranking city official suggested Santana and her office should create Spanish-language versions to distribute, she said.
The reaction startled her.
“I almost didn’t know how to respond,” Santana said. “That's when I started really realizing, ‘You know what? This is a huge issue for the city.’ Who would have thought that a city with more than 300,000 residents wouldn’t be ready to have their communications translated?”
(A city spokesperson did respond to questions about what Santana was told.)
Santana’s concerns as a councilwoman were rooted in what she’d witnessed growing up in her community and later as a health outreach worker: that language and trust act as barriers to resources that can improve or save lives. The COVID-19 pandemic has intensified pressure on a chronically underfunded public health system that already faced staggering disparities in access to medical care and health outcomes, especially for people with limited English proficiency.
But the crisis also has offered an opportunity, which some local health departments have embraced, to forge relationships and connections that could outlast the virus.
Cleveland, a city that declared racism a public health crisis almost a year ago, with officials vowing to tackle disparities and inequities, has seen some progress but it has been sluggish.
Despite a windfall in pandemic aid, Cleveland still has not beefed up its own contract tracing operations by adding bilingual staff. Instead, it has relied on the state health department for virtual assistance with Spanish-speaking residents and a language translation line.
This article is from Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism. Please join their free mailing list, as this helps provide more public service reporting. For women survivors of sex trafficking struggling to make ends meet, the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated an already desperate situation. Funding programs to support them have shifted to more urgent crisis funding— to house and feed the homeless, for example. Losing financial and food security only places these already scuffling women at an even greater risk of being trafficked again to earn money just to survive.
This article provided by Eye on Ohio, the nonprofit, nonpartisan Ohio Center for Journalism in partnership with the Buckeye Flame. Please join our free mailing list or the mailing list for the Flame as this helps us provide more public service reporting. After beginning with some vocal stretches to warm up her voicebox, Ginger Williams hums and vocalizes to match a tone played by Maureen Brogan, a student clinician. “Good! I got 195,” Maureen reports.
“Yes!” Ginger whispers, her excitement quiet but palpable even over video conference. Her 195 signifies “195 hertz,” which falls nicely into the 180-240 range associated with a female pitch.
For Ginger, a transgender woman, this result is exactly what she is here to achieve.