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Dealing with a mounting utility bill or shut-off notice can be scary, and assistance isn’t always accessible. To help make the process less daunting, the Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative (NEO SoJo) compiled some tips from local advocates alongside requirements for assistance programs.
If knowledge is power, then the skills to get public records are a superpower – one that will soon be available to all curious Clevelanders. Want information on how the city is spending taxpayer money? Looking for a police policy or court record? All you have to do is know how to ask. The Northeast Ohio Solutions Journalism Collaborative has teamed up with the Cleveland Documenters to create a new, free course.
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.
On a crisp fall day, a small group of masked community researchers fanned out on the streets of Slavic Village to ask residents a few questions about their sex lives. The effort was one part of a plan to understand why the Cleveland neighborhood has seen higher levels of new HIV cases diagnosed over the past five years, despite an overall downward trend in Cuyahoga County.
When the coronavirus pandemic first hit in March, most utilities instituted moratoriums, which paused overdue bill collections and shut offs — but those have come to an end. Now, many customers who are behind on their bills are receiving disconnection notices, leaving them to wonder where to turn next.