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When people think about Cleveland, they may think about high unemployment rates, forclosed housing, and

poverty. One cant blame them, especially when the media is broadcasting messages of the Cleveland being the poorest city in the nation. Those messages are not that far from the truth. According to the Census Bureau, Cleveland, Ohio is currently ranked 15 out of 50 of the nations poorest cities with a poverty level of 30.5 percent (Exner, 2009). Cleveland wasnt always at the bottom of the barrel. At one time, it was prosperous and had a chance to shine; but a slip in the late 70s turned into a landslide of economic decline which carried its destruction into and throughout the 80s. The city is still trying to recover today. Poverty directly contributes to many social issues that are present in the city including how it impacts the city and its members politically, socially, and culturally; but in the process of trying to find a solution, one must understand the history of how this low economic status came to rise in Cleveland. There are many social issues that need to be brought to attention in the city of Cleveland. One of these is homelessness. The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, or NEOCH, has reported a homeless population in Cleveland that is a little over 2,000 and predicts that there are another 2,000 people that have been unaccounted for. This means that they are thought to be living in abandoned warehouses and foreclosed homes.

About 147 of these homeless were families with children. This can be attributed to the the high rate of poverty, unemployement, and forclosures or evictions from homes. It was reported that in 2004, there were 12,000 evictions in Cleveland (NEOCH, 2005).

The issue of public education should also be addressed. The educational achievement level in Cleveland is below that of other large Ohio citys, such as Columbus. 27 percent of adults living in the city do not have their high school diploma or their G.E.D. Only 9 percent of those who did graduate from high school have bachelors degrees. Low funding and salaries for teachers does not help the situation. They are not able to provide the children with the best education possible. Without that education, finding a way out of poverty is going to be very difficult if not impossible. There are also many Public Policy issues that are arising. There is no doubt that money makes the world go around. With that said, there can also be no doubt that when money is sparse, things get rough. The citys lack of finances takes a toll on its citizens, especially in areas that are already poverty stricken. Take a look at public transportation. People have to get to work but not all of them can afford cars or keep up with the rising gas prices. That leaves them the options of by bus, by carpool, or by foot. The RTA is the main method of public transportation in the city.

Their rider rates had been on the rise for the past few years as have their bus fares, though 2009 seemed to put an end to that. Rich Exner, of the Plain Dealer, attributed this 11.6 percent decrease in RTA riders to, a period of increased fares, reduced service and a bad economy (Exner, 2009). Those who do have their own private transportation must take on the personal expenses that come with it, such as gas prices and car repairs. These factors are then intensified if an individual must drive a further distance for a job that is outside the city. Many cannot afford these extra expenses and find themselves trapped in the inner city where opportunites are limited.

Another issue that must be addressed is healthcare. The type of healthcare insurance one carries greatly affects what type and how much care they are able to receive. It really seems to be a horrible and vicious cycle. Those without health insurance tend to postpone needed hospital visits because they cannot afford to pay. Without adequate healtcare, they get sicker and sicker until a visit to the doctor is unavoidable. The only problem with that is since they didnt have the money to take care of their small problem months ago, its highly unlikely that they are going to be able to afford the added medical expenses for the now more serious condition. Sick people then cannot go to work to make the money to afford healthcare for themselves or their children.

In 1999, it was reported that one-quarter of adults and 21 percent of children did not have health insurance. It was also found that 61 percent of Clevelands uninsured were from working families (An, Andrulis, & Pryor, 2000). The Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio), a state organization dedicated to researching the healthcare status of Ohio citizens, conducted a survery in 2000 that included 22 participants who received their healthcare at one of Clevelands four main hospitals (MetroHealth, Huron, University, and Cleveland Clinic). The study produced interesting results. 80 percent of respondents for Huron, University, and Cleveland Clinic were black, emphasizing the fact that most of those without addequate healthcare are African American. Also, the majority of the participants reported visiting the hospital several times a year. Most of them used the emergency room. This suggests that people arent utilizing the hospitals for their specific purposes and are instead taking their medical

maladies to the E.R. where they know they will be seen. This could be because people are afraid that they will be turned away or wont have the money or insurance to schedule an appointment with appropriate doctors or physicians. It could also show how postponing doctor visits and medical treatment ends up taking a serious toll on those who cant afford continuous medical care and can ultimately take their life. There is also an issue of comfort.

When asked if the hospitals were open and accepting towards the uninsured, the results came back lower than average. Cleveland Clinic was the lowest, with only three out of ten surveyors saying they were greeted with acceptance despite their healtcare status (An, 200). Access to prescriptions was also an issue in the study. This is also a major setback to sick individuals because to receive the best treatment they have to be able to afford the prescription as well as the medical visit. This is definitely an issue for many. 60 percent of respondents from MetroHealth said that paying for their medication was going to be very difficult, followed by Cleveland Clinic (51 percent), Huron (49 percent), and University (32 percent) (An, 2000). The city of Cleveland did not the level of worries and woes that it does now. Being at the mouth of the Cuyahoga River made Cleveland a prime location for trade. From 1870 to the late 1920s, Cleveland took advantage of the industrial revolution as it was a center for iron-ore, oil refinement, and machine manufacturing. Cleveland gained economic structure as well as an increase in population due to the hundreds of thousands

of immigrants who migrated to the city looking for work (Hill, 1995). In 1950, Clevelands population was at one million (Ohio History, 2010).

It was following World War II that things got rough for the city. In 1979 there was a recession that hit Cleveland hard. It was the first city to have a bond default since the Great Depression which put the citys economic status into array. The once beautiful Lake Erie was contaminated and polluted. According to Hill, employment peaked in 1979 with about 903,000 residents reporting having work. The numbers began to decline soon afterwards and did not cease to decline until 1983. During those four years, Cleveland lost about 2.4 million dollars and had a decrease of 30 percent in unemployment rates. Things started to look up in 83 and on until another recession hit the area in 1991. The city did manage to make a come back, but the recovery was gradual. It wasnt until 1993 that employment rates begin to rise again. The majority of the employment used to reside in the area of manufacturing which supplied 30.3 percent of the workforce in 1979. Though it decreased significantly to 19.9 percent in 1993. Instead, the city saw increases in the areas of services, retail trade, and finance, insurance, and real estate (Hill, 1995). The decline in Clevelands finances can also be attributed to its loss of population. Between 1970 and 1980, Clevelands population decreased by 23.6 percent. But things did not get better. Within the next ten years from 1980 to 1990, it continued to lose another 11.9 percent, or 505,616 people.

Though such a steady decline in population is hard to take in, what is even more troubling is that the poverty levels continue to rise. It would seem that the people moving out of the city are the ones that were bringing in all the money. They could afford to move out towards the suburbs where there are more opportunites for residents to grow. Left behind were those whose financial statuses kept them trapped in the inner city. This can be seen as it was reported that the unemployment rate in Cleveland dropped between 1983 and 1990 but the number of residents in poverty increased. It was recorded that those living below the poverty line increase to almost 40 percent in 1987 compared to it being 27 percent in 1980 (Hill, 1995). There are two economies to consider when looking at the greater area of Cleveland. There is the city of Cleveland itself and the regions that surround it. During a recent economic recovery, the fact that there are two economies became evident. While the surrounding regions gained almost 3,500 new jobs, the city itself lost 12,000 jobs. As Austrian and Bingham said, it is difficult to be enthusiastic about two economies in the Cleveland metropolitan area- a growing suburban economy and a declining City economy . . . .

The topic of poverty affects everything. People living in poverty have to learn how to live and get by. For example, it has greatly changed the household structure. Though not always the case, the majority of poverty stricken households are run by a female figure. It is reported that 50 percent of these types of families are poor for some time. According to Coulton and Chow, 26.1 percent of homes headed by females are in

poverty for 10 or more years compared to 6.2 percent in homes headed by a male. When in that type of situation, a double income makes the chances of escaping poverty much higher. Homes headed by a female are usually single-parent homes in which the female is a single mother. In this case, marriage and transfer-payments make a greater dent in the debt than income from employment (Coulton & Chow, 1995). Families learn to take care of eachother in these hard times. Family members that are in poverty are usually aided by other members that are better off. Sometimes when times are tough, people lose hope. Those in poverty try to learn to deal with their situation versus get out of it. Some do this by taking matters into their own hands. This attitude could cause a cultural shift in the way people make a living. They feel that they have to take care of themselves and their own. Some may resort to dealing drugs or stealing to make money for their family. Its wrong but it will put food on the table. Because opportunities can be so hard to come by, some try to make their own. This change in thought should stir thoughts of officials.

Cleveland greatly needs aid and reform in order to make it out of the hole of poverty it has fallen into. Politicians and those with the power to make a change need to look at the situation that has been dealt and find a way to fix it. Research is very important in this issue because it allows one to see if conditions are improving or declining. There is no specific poll or study that will reveal this. It is a combination of different reports. Much of it is quantitative. The Census Burea reports the total number of people residing the in city while other studies and statistics go more in depth. There is also qualitative work that has been carried out. There are surveys and questionnaires that residents take. This qualitative information is very important because

it shows researchers what the numbers cannot. It gives opinions on issues and topics as well as suggestions for improvement. I found all of this information to by extremely interesting as well as depressing. I have been around Cleveland all my life. As a child, I grew up in Garfield Heights. I was always told about the bad areas of the city and kepth that knowledge in mind as I moved downtown to go to Cleveland State. Though I knew that these areas of poverty existed, I had never thought to try and look into the issues associated with them. The history of Cleveland was a great base. I found most of the information about such from our class textbook. The description was very in depth and presented very well.

It brings the various issues of how our city slipped into this serious economic decline to light. Cleveland was really with it when the main focus of the market was on industrial production and goods. But today we are living in a world of technology and innovation. Cleveland still has a way to go before it can afford to integrate and support that type of society. The once mighty world of industry is falling to computers and technology. Cleveland struggles to push on with its old habits of industry and production. It has to in order to spur employment rates. The city cannot afford to give jobs to machines as much as it cannot afford to give jobs to its residents. Many companies even end up transferring their labor force to other countries in order to keep production rates low. Also notable is how poverty is like quicksand. Once you are below the poverty level, it is hard to get out. You have to concentrate and take it slow. Try anything to quick or risky and you could sink down even farther. Those with sufficient incomes can afford to pick up and move to a better area. Once in this new atmosphere, there are better opportunites to take

advantage of. But those stuck in poverty are trapped within a city of lost dreams and deterioration. Opportunites and chances for a new life are limited in the inner city. Even if you can escape to a job, it can often be too costly to support the added expenses.

Through this paper, I have presented the facts of poverty and how it has influence our city of Cleveland. Poverty is a very serious and vicious cycle that needs to be addressed. Structure needs to be provided so that the city and its residents may grow to their fullest potential.

Works Cited An, Andrulis, Pryor. October 2000. Getting Health Care When You Are Uninsured: A Survey of Uninsured Patients at Four Hospitals in Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved February 13, 2010. http://www.communitycatalyst.org/doc_store/publications/getting_health_care_w hen_you_are_uninsured_oct00.pdf Cleveland, A Metropolitan Reader. (1995). Kent, Ohio, & London, England. The Kent State University Press. Exner, Rich. September 2009. Find poverty data for U.S. cities, counties and states; several Ohio cities rank high. Retrieved February 13, 2010. http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2009/09/find_poverty_data_f or_us_citie.html Exner, Rich. October 2009. Greater Cleveland RTA Ridership Appears Heading Toward a Record Low. Retrieved February 14, 2010. http://www.cleveland.com/datacentral/index.ssf/2009/10/greater_cleveland_rt a_ridershi.html MHS. February 2010. Our Community: Remarkable Strengths, Wrenching Transitions. Retrieved February 15, 2010. http://www.mhs-inc.org/Community.asp Ohio Histroy Central. July 2005. Cleveland, Ohio. Retrieved February 13, 2010. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.com/entry.php?rec=687&nm=Cleveland-Ohio