Letter to Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher

Letter

By:  Robert Hagan Jay Williams Michael O'Brien
Date: Nov. 21, 2008
Location: Unknown

October 31, 2008

Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher
Riffe Center, 30th Floor
77 South High Street
Columbus, OH 43215-6108

Dear Lieutenant Governor Lee Fisher,

On behalf of area legislators, community leaders, and key stakeholders in Mahoning Valley, we would like to request a meeting with you to discuss the foreclosure crisis facing our metropolitan area. Specifically, we would like to discuss the allocation of the State of Ohio's $116.8 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program to our community and the ways in which we can work together to address this crisis which has disproportionately affected our region.

As you know, the City of Youngstown has the highest local foreclosure rate in the State of Ohio, I4.7 percent, and one of the highest percentages of homes financed by subprime loans at almost 55 percent. The city's 8,405 vacant units and over 20,000 vacant lots translates into more than 1 in 5 structures being vacant within the City of Youngstown and one of the highest per capita vacant property rates in the United States.

The City of Youngstown, a community of 73,818, received an initial $2.7 million allocation from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. The City of Warren, a community of 44,270, has received no initial direct allocation from the Neighborhood Stabilization Program. Warren is also facing significant challenges for a community of its size. Without resources and intervention the foreclosure crisis will add to the 3,000 plus vacant structures within the City of Warren.

While the Cities of Youngstown and Warren are facing significant challenges, progress is being made to give both communities back their future. The City of Youngstown has adopted, Youngstown2010, a citywide vision to right size the city that has received national recognition. This plan seeks to resize the city to make it a livable smaller city. The City of Warren is currently undertaking a comprehensive planning process to develop a blueprint for its future. Other progress includes the development of the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative which is building grassroots capacity in urban neighborhoods throughout Youngstown and Warren. A high capacity multifaceted Neighborhood Development Corporation is also being developed to provide professional community development that has been lacking in the Mahoning Valley for a long time.

The purpose of the Neighborhood Stabilization Program is to provide resources to areas of the State of Ohio with the greatest need as noted in Department of Housing and Urban Development Docket No. FR-5255-N-01 Attachment A. We, as leaders of the Mahoning Valley, believe that the facts and statistics make it very clear the Mahoning Valley has been deeply and significantly impacted by the foreclosure crisis.

We are requesting a meeting with the Lieutenant Governor and the staff of the Ohio Department of Development Office of Housing and Community Partnerships to discuss the remaining allocation of the state's Neighborhood Stabilization Program funding. We are requesting a meeting in November

of this year. Please respond to Ian Beniston at 330-743-1196 of the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative to confirm a date and time. We have included some maps and background about the Valley for your review.

Thank you,

Mayor Jay Williams Mayor Michael O'Brien
City of Youngstown City of Warren

Representative Robert Hagan Tim Ryan
Ohio House of Representatives Member of Congress (OH17)

Annie Gillam Andy Barkley
Youngstown City Council Warren City Council

Father Ed Noga Reverend Michael Harrison
Saint Patrick's Church Union Baptist Church

Ms. Charlene Allen, Executive Director James London, President
Alliance Community Outreach Program Idora Neighborhood Association

Patti Dougan, President Nola Yovich
Seventh Ward Citizen Coalition Perkins Neighborhood Assoc.

Kirk Noden, Executive Director Joel Ratner, President
Mahoning Valley Organizing Committee Raymond John Wean Foundation