Lorain, Oh- Broken Homes – Broken People- Just Plain Broke- Part Two
PART ONE: https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2012/04/30/lorain-oh-broken-homes-and-broken-people-just-plain-broke/
How did I get to this place of “shrug” ( apart from my personal situation) the “immunity” to the ADCD disease (Abandoned- Blighted -Criminal Tenants-Deteriorating properties ) had already set in.
In May of 2005 a young girl was attacked going to school- Lorain City Schools were blamed – the Lorain Police Dept were blamed by the community – but it was the community that was to blame. The school system can only protect the child whilst on their property- the police dept can really for the most part react after the crime has been committed. The problem was the neighborhood the girl had to walk through and the abandoned house ( 7 years ago) that enabled the crime.
I was angry, so Reverend Donahue- Christian Temple Disciples of Christ and Charleston Village Society put together a consortium of safety to decide what we could do . Forty people answered the call- LPD- including the Chief of Police, Sheriff’s Dept, Lorain City Schools- the superintendent , 5 of Lorain’s city council people, non-profit social service agencies, day care center representatives , business organizations , religious community representatives, members of the community and the Safety Service Director Craig Miller as well as Chief Building Superintendent Bill Desvari and a representative of the Lake Erie Landlords Association.
The Fire on 22nd street – July 2007- the cause the building code crack down on 5 landlords ???READ ON – TELL ME YOU BE THE JUDGE……….
After three exploratory and fact-finding meetings, a goal was decided upon.
To make the concept work there had to be a total commitment to the concept- a pilot program for the taking back of a neighborhood –
It was a 5 pronged approach and needed 100 percent buy in and co-operation by the five
One – Lorain City Schools
Two- Lorain Police Dept -
Three- the Religious Community –
Four- Social service agencies-
Five- the Administration and Building Dept of the City of Lorain.
If one failed the concept failed. We had assurances from all involved to do their part.
A school would be at the center of the project- Lorain police Dept would have an office at the school where the neighborhood residents could get to know their officers and feel comfortable in having a dialogue as to the issues they faced.
The religious community/ community advocates and social service agencies working together to inform the residents in the target area of “help available” and finally the city administration / building dept would see to it a clean up of abandoned homes, deteriorating rentals were targeted. The concept consisted of a target area of 2 block area radiating out from the center – the school
The pilot program was picked in an area around Lincoln School- and a group or residents and representatives formed the South Lorain Coalition under the chairmanship of Father Thaden , they took ownership of the project. The community galvanized and progress was made .
BUT- Two things happened ,the most disastrous to the pilot program was
in 2007 Lorain City School’s under new administration took back Lincoln School- as it was now needed- with little warning to the community. It was just too soon for the fledging organization to absorb.
Lincoln Community Center Director Leon Mason said he found out about the board’s intentions to terminate the lease on Friday and called the move a shock. Violent crime has drastically decreased since the center opened, and Mason said he’s worried that the board did not give him enough time to find a new location…………….The center was created by several community organizations, including the Lorain Police Department, as a way to stop violence in South Lorain, which erupted with several murders in 2005, including the shooting death of 15-year-old Samarrie Soler
BUT even before that body blow to the pilot program- the City Administration under Foltin talked a good game to our faces , smiled and nodded shook hands but not ONE DAMNED THING WAS DONE TO ALLEVIATE THE CONDITIONS OF THE HOMES! Without the buy in and follow through commitment of all participants the pilot program was doomed to fail and it did- and with it the failure of the concept spreading the concept to other areas.
RIP- Quality of Life- Lorain- Ohio
After many years of dealing with the “head nodders – crossed fingers behind their backs type “ the lack of follow through the ” just a storm in a teacup thinking- it will blow over just smile and nod yes” you build up an immunity. I am not alone………..
During the research for this post I came across
Dispatches from Home by Nick Kowalczyk -lives in upstate New York by way of Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa. He teaches creative nonfiction and feature writing at Ithaca College.
Photo Source – The Ithacan
I had a childhood marred by bullying, but I gained confidence when I became a journalist because it made me feel like an advocate for truth, justice, and good government. In college it’s all I thought about, and I worked hard enough to be named one of the top ten journalism students in the country, by the Scripps Howard Foundation, in 2001. And my career began in Lorain………
………..Hired by The Morning Journal’s competitor, The (Elyria, Ohio) Chronicle-Telegram, I received, as a lowly summer intern, the Lorain city beat. I covered the city council, read the daily police blotters, watched the municipal court hearings for DUIs and prostitution and domestic violence arrests, and regularly talked with the mayor. It was a depressing, disillusioning job for a hometown kid. Every day I discovered a new reason to move away. Every day it seemed evident that Lorain would fall apart. Sometimes as I drove back to the newsroom I even imagined the earth opening and Lorain falling into the crack, absorbed by flames and hell. (Melodramatic, I know…). But even more melodramatic—and self-fulfilling—was my fear that somehow Lorain, like a vortex, would absorb me back.
…………What is a homecoming if not an opportunity to reenact the past? I can’t remember the dates exactly, but a few years after I moved away I came home and realized most of my family’s old haunts no longer existed. These places included my high school, my old grade school, my parents’ grade school, the YMCA, our favorite downtown donut shop, the restaurant where we ate breakfast every Sunday, my father’s favorite hardware store, the hospital where my mother worked, and the church where my grandparents and parents were married. To look at these places now brings an echoing feeling of emptiness in my chest, along with sentimental indignance. Coming back to Lorain is like wandering around a forest of dead trees in winter.
How sad this talented young man does not have “pride” in his hometown. But why should he write about the GOOD and GREAT things in Lorain? There are great and good things but like a disease unchecked – slowly spreads and destroys the good - The disease – the deteriorating infrastructure/ houses/ those that prostitute her for their own needs have set her on a decline and we are mainly “bandaiding”.
June 26th 2005 The Chronicle Telegram ran an article – BROKEN HOMES- by Dan Harkins and Shawn Foucher that article touched a nerve then and still does- because very little has changed but the numbers in those 7 years. Unfortunately the article is not on-line but you can access the Word Document here -BROKEN HOMES
It’s not hard to find examples of crimes linked to abandoned or all-but-abandoned homes in Lorain. The crimes are an extreme example of the kind of “negative effect on the neighborhood stability and economic vitality of the city” that state auditors warned Lorain of a year ago.
“By not administering its code enforcement, property maintenance and building programs, it is difficult for the city to preserve its housing stock,” auditors wrote in their report.
As I said not a lot has happened since that report from the state auditors in 2004 – except the numbers change
BY THE NUMBERS
The number of vacant homes in Lorain has gone up 70 percent over the last 30 years.
1970: 1,044 homes
1980: 1,579 homes
1990: 1,252 homes
2000: 1,745 homes
** approximately 2,000 in 2005 however from the 2010 census report
3615 – vacant
1642 vacant for rent
57 rented but not occupied
557 for sale
159 sold but not occupied
83 for occasional use/ temp housing
1,110 – all other vacant – abandoned
The solution in my humble opinion- SOMEONE HAS TO TAKE CHARGE AND BE THE BOSS-
- no waffling about only a few months in office- we have had that pronouncement with every new administration- not acceptable -the Building Dept and the codes have been there through all administrations- a Mayor / Administration (new or not) doesn’t tell the Fire Chief/ Police Chief etc. how to do his job when they take over – all our new mayor has to do is tell the Building Dept- ENFORCE THE CODES IT WOULD BE MUSIC TO OUR EARS!!!!
The other part of the solution is stop the baby slap punishment being handed out by Lorain Municipal Court and the prosecutors for property maintenance . The 5 Landlords mentioned in part one only one received any “punishment” a $250.00 fine( fine of $1,000- $750.00 suspended) as well as the 30 day jail sentence (suspended) and court coss. The rest had their cases dismissed ( even though the plea was no contest for most) . THE LAW IS NOT TOOTHLESS- Time to bring the gavel down hard!!!!
Common sense, if nothing else, tells you – that garbage housing/ garbage neighborhoods brings more garbage and vermin – four-legged and two-legged kind. The reason we in Lorain, have an influx and saturated solution of Registered Sex offenders, career criminals and those on parole is because ” they can easily assimilate into our neighborhoods” and the social service agencies are here for THEIR CLIENTS – for which they get a lot of money for their paid “Directors and staff”-
As long as Lorain is perceived as being a haven for the criminal element- sub- standard housing and whilst rental and social service agencies are the main business attractions no little clean up or tattoo artwork on Broadway will help stop the rot ( bandaids at best). The core issues have to be addressed and soon and it can start with code enforcement and a tough stance.
I would draw your attention to what Lakewood (just 20 miles down the road) considers a “troublesome home” ( Channel 5 news April 30th
Time for our local government and elected officials to stop paying lip service and cuddling up “to the money in the campaign pot supporters” ( as did Landlord Foltin
apparently) or in another 7 years someone else will write of the Lorain that was and is now and the numbers will tell the tale-those that left-those that died- those that cry – the names will change but the story will stay the same ……..
Entry filed under: a Cow -elle opinion, Charleston Village, city of lorain, Criminal Offenders, hell is other people, opinion, personal opinion. Tags: Charleston Village, disgraceful, local politics, Lorain, Lorain abandoned, Lorain City Schools, Politicians and forked tongues.