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Miss the Fair Housing Forums? Presentations now available on-line

June 25, 2013 in Housing

June Fair Housing Presentations

The NEOSCC is currently undertaking a study to evaluate fair housing throughout the 12 Counties of Northeast Ohio.  It is known as a Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. In mid-June 2013, through a series of Fair Housing Presentations, we reached out to the 12 Counties to present draft data and listen to your thoughts on this important issue. The documents below represent the data and draft findings from the presentations given on each County during June 18 through 20. Please continue to provide your feedback through our Fair Housing Surveys and by reading and reviewing our draft report. Comments will be accepted until July 9th.


Ashtabula County - Slides | Handout

Cuyahoga County - Slides | Handout

Geauga County - Slides | Handout

Lake County - Slides | Handout

Lorain County - Slides | Handout

Mahoning County - Slides | Handout

Medina County - Slides | Handout

Portage County - Slides | Handout

Stark County - Slides | Handout

Summit County - Slides | Handout

Trumbull County - Slides | Handout

Wayne County – Slides | Handout



Imagining Your Northeast Ohio!

June 21, 2013 in News

       Last week NEOSCC launched an online game: Imagine My NEO. Imagine My NEO puts users in the shoes of a policy maker, allowing them to design their own community by ranking priorities, projects, and policies they wish to see in the future of our communities. The game is designed to gather input from residents of Northeast Ohio, and will be used in the next phase of the NEOSCC project of implementing the planned scenarios. NEOSCC will use the data collected to design and plan a more vibrant, resilient, and sustainable Northeast Ohio.
        In order to receive feedback from as many residents as possible this summer, NEOSCC is going around to Northeast Ohio events and venues, engaging visitors by answering questions, explaining our goals, and by having everyone play the game on one of our iPads. Please stop by our table at any one of the events!
       A few upcoming events we will be attending include:
Oberlin College campus on June 20 from 1 p.m. until 4 p.m.
Hidden Treasures Street Fair in Old Brooklyn’s West, Cleveland on June 22 from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m
Conneaut Library on June 25 at 1p.m.
Stark County Italian-American Festival on June 28 from 4 p.m. until 11 p.m.
Geauga County Library on July 9 at 2 p.m.
The Mahoning Valley Scrapper Minor League Baseball game
on July 10 at 7:05.
Youngstown State University Summer Festival of the Arts
on July 13 at 11 a.m.
Akron Aeros Game on July 14 at 2:05 p.m.
*Check our calendar for more details and updates! Hope to see you soon.”

Akron and Cleveland What Matters to Metros Forums next week

June 21, 2013 in Engagement, News

What Matters to Metros

The Fund for Our Economic Future’s What Matters to Metros™: Foundational Indicators for Economic Competitiveness helps community leaders identify factors that are associated with economic growth in mid-sized U.S. metropolitan areas in a post-recession economy. What Matters to Metros™ can serve civic leaders in metros throughout the United States, but the research bears specific implications for the four largest metropolitan areas in Northeast Ohio: Akron, Canton, Cleveland and Youngstown. This research provides data that civic leaders and the Fund can use to ask more strategic questions about how “growth” can be pursued, and to identify their own distinct approaches to get there.

Over the last few weeks, the Fund has hosted forums in Canton and Youngstown. The Fund will be hosting two more community forums next week. You can RSVP by visiting the links below. 

June 24, 10a-12n Quaker Square Inn (135 S Broadway St., Akron, OH 44325)
Partners:  Akron Community Foundation and the University of Akron

June 28, 8a-10a, location TBD
Partners:  Saint Luke’s Foundation and The Community Foundation of Lorain County

See what’s being said about our Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice

June 20, 2013 in Housing, News

This week around the Northeast Ohio region, NEOSCC staff are presenting and taking comments on the draft of initials findings from our Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. Below are some excerpts of what a few local media outlets had to say about the study and the work we are doing. You can click on each article to read the story in full.


“Study: Blacks in Mahoning County receive more predatory loans”
by Burton Speakman,The Vindicator

“The overall point of the study was to show where issues exist within Northeast Ohio and develop a vision of what this area should be, said Anthony Kobak, project manager for NEO Sustainable Communities Consortium.

Then the area needs to develop plans and find funding for programs to help make any necessary changes to make area housing more equitable, he said.”

“Reports show minorities denied loans”
by WKBN Staff, WKBN Channel 27 News

“The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium has released its Fair Housing Report.

The initiative incorporates 12 counties in the northeast Ohio region. The study looked at private lending practices, public sector housing complaints and the community reinvestment act.

Among the data analyzed was that provided by the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act for home purchase loan applications from 2004 through 2011.

Of the 328,557 loan applications originated in the region, 65,149 were denied. American Indian, black, and Hispanic residents experienced a higher rate of loan denial than white or Asian applicants. Black and Hispanic applicants were also issued higher interest rate loans, and black borrowers experienced a rate nearly twice that of white applicants, according to the report.”

“Fair housing data presented on Lake, Geauga counties”
by Betsy Scott, The News-Herald

“The Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium is behind the Regional Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice — a document a number of jurisdictions in the region are required to have by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development or the state, depending on the grant funding agency.

The 2,500-plus-page analysis identified racially and ethnically concentrated areas, measured racial/ethnic isolation and segregation, evaluated access to opportunity areas, and recommended ways to reduce social and economic disparity…

The presentation included the number of housing complaints to HUD from 2004 to 2012 — 31 total in Geauga and 138 in Lake, for reasons including familial status, race and disability. Mortgage loan denials also were reviewed, showing a pattern of higher denials among minorities.

Agency representatives at the presentation disputed some of the data, particularly that which was gathered from a local government survey about fair housing information in their respective communities. They said it didn’t paint an accurate picture…

The results of the fair housing study will be integrated into a planning process for changes to be implemented. They also can be incorporated at the local level, said Anthony Kobak, project manager for NEOSCC.

“Each local entity can accept it as their own analysis of impediments, a portion of it or not at all,” he said. “HUD is concerned with the findings, but moreso how you are addressing them.”"


To view the fair housing report online, visit

To submit comments comments or questions, send to NEOSCC, 146 S. High St., Suite 800, Akron, OH 44308, or email

Help us spread the word about Imagine MyNEO!

June 19, 2013 in Communications, Engagement, News, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

As part of Imagine MyNEO, we are launching a engagement challenge: myVibrant5. After you complete Imagine MyNEO you will be given the option to join the myVibrant5 challenge. The challenge will feature a leaderboard indicating those participants that have invite the most friends to play and complete Imagine MyNEO. A dynamic leader board identifying the the top 5 participants will be featured on Check out the presentation below for more information.

Check out your maps from the first round of Workshops!

June 18, 2013 in Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Map Library

Over 70 maps were created at the six workshops by residents and public officials. We have created a the following galleries for you to look at the different maps. Three of the six workshop maps have been posted, the remaining three will be uploaded later today.  We have removed the table numbers from each map.











Warrensville Heights






“Business as Usual” Workshops: Initial Review and Results Presented to Board

June 14, 2013 in Communications, Scenario Planning, Vibrant NEO 2040

Over a three day period (April 30 – May 2) nearly 600 individuals participated in our Business As Usual Workshops.  The sessions focused on a presentation of the Business As Usual Scenario, instant polling and a mapping exercise to engage attendees in a discussion about how the region should look going forward. You can access a video from our Akron Workshop here.

Below you will find some of the results from the first Workshop Series.  We have included an overall summary of the workshop results, a closer look at how different development typologies were utilized during the mapping exercise and a library of all of the maps created by workshop attendees.

Summary of Thematic Feedback and Table Notes

During the mapping exercise, we encouraged attendees to take notes about ideas and concerns at each table.  This document is a record of the notes taken by volunteer note-takers during the mapping exercise conducted at the Vibrant NEO 2040 “Business As Usual” Scenario Workshop Series  Click here to read through the VibrantNEO Phase One Table Notes.

What development types did participants use?

Attendees were able to place different development typologies on a Northeast Ohio map.  The results from this exercise are summarized in the powerpoint results above. Here is a different look at the outputs focused on the number of different chips utilized. Click here to access  VibrantNEO Workshop Chip Placement.

Map Exercise Library

Over 70 maps were created at the six workshops by residents and public officials. We have created a library of all of the maps on our website.  If you would like to see the copies of individual maps from the workshops, Click here to access. Three of the six workshop maps have been posted, the remaining three will be uploaded later today.

Local Roots

June 13, 2013 in Environment, Quality Connected Places, Sustainability

Northeast Ohio has become somewhat of an epicenter of the local foods movement in the United States. From innovative urban agricultural zoning in Youngstown and Cleveland, to recognition of its historic and independent open markets (e.g. West Side Market in Cleveland), to entrepreneurial efforts to integrate local farming and markets in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, to future planning to increase local food growth, retailing, marketing and processing,[1] the region has set an example for other areas of the Midwest and the nation to follow. The case for local food has been made by many organizations, citing how local food means:[2]

  • Better quality: Fresher, picked at the peak of flavor, and it loses fewer nutrients in transport.
  • Better for the environment: Uses fewer fossil fuels in transportation, fewer chemicals for farming and promotes biological diversity.
  • Better for the economy: Invest in local business, and they’ll invest locally, too. And eating seasonally means food is less expensive, putting money back into your pocket.
  • Better for the community: Get to know who grows your food, and share ideas for growing and cooking with fellow local-foods lovers!

Local Roots Market and Café (and soon to also be Kitchen Incubator) has become a wonderful example of the evolution of the local food movement in Northeast Ohio. The concept began to emerge in Wooster (Wayne County) in February 2009 when people who were interested in

helping to make local food more accessible began to connect with one another and brainstorm how this could be best be accomplished. Meetings were held weekly to plan the development of what would become the Wooster Local Foods Cooperative, eventually doing business as Local Roots Market and Cafe.[3]

On Jan 30, 2010, almost exactly 1 year from those first meetings, the Local Roots Market & Café officially opened for business. According to their website,[4] the market has grown from being open only Saturday to six days a week. In October 2010, funds received from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) were put towards the completion of a small, but commercially licensed kitchen facility.  This was completed in June 2011. In July 2011, Local Roots received notification of a grant from Rural Development/USDA for $99,500 to complete the full commercial kitchen facility.  The kitchen will allow producers to further process and preserve products for sale in the market. The April/May 2013 Newsletter, “Roots Cellar,” announced the installation of a 14’x10’ freezer by a volunteer group known as “The Kitchen Crew.” The Crew also completed the plumbing trenches with help from College of Wooster and Ashland University students.[5]

For more information about Local Roots Market & Café, please email The Market is located at 140 South Walnut Street in Wooster.

Local Roots Steering Committee Members from left to right: John Drouhard (Electrician, WCSEN), Keith Speirs (Architect, WCSEN), Dave Benchoff (OEFFA Board Member, Farmer), Jen Hugon (Graphic Artist), Jennifer McMullen (Writer), Marlene Barkheimer (Bank President), Jessica (Barkheimer) Eikleberry (Business/Computer Systems), John Anderson (Poultry Researcher – OARDC), Monica Bongue (OEFFA Member, PhD Biochemistry, Farmer), Betsy Anderson (Entomologist – OARDC, Former Professional Baker), Bill Boyer (HS Teacher, Gardener), Marlene Boyer (Family & Consumer Sciences HS Teacher)

[1] Masi, B., Schaller, L., and Shuman, M. (2010). The 25% Shift: The benefits of food localization for Northeast Ohio and how to realize them. Cleveland, OH and Silver Spring, MD: Cleveland Foundation, ParkWorks, Kent State University Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, Neighborhood Progress Inc., Cleveland-Cuyahoga County Food Policy Coalition.

[2] Local Roots Market & Café: Why Local? (retrieved 6.9.2013 from

[3] Local Roots Market & Café: History (retrieved 6.9.2013 from

[4] Ibid.

[5] Local Roots Market & Café. (April/May 2013). The Roots Cellar Newsletter (retrieved 6.9.2013 from

Have you imagined about Northeast Ohio yet? Imagine MyNEO is now live

June 12, 2013 in ACT, Scenario Planning


ImagineMyNEO is a fun and entertaining web-based tool designed to put the user in the role of regional planner, making critical policy decisions and weighing priorities for the future of Northeast Ohio and struggling with the tough choices that must be made. You can play today at

Our goal with ImagineMyNEO is to ask residents ‘What would this region look like in the future if you are in charge?’” said Hunter Morrison, NEOSCC’s Executive Director. “Users can share their priorities for the future and make the kinds of policy choices necessary to help create that future, and all in an engaging way.”

In ImagineMyNEO, the user is first asked to finish the sentence “I want to live in a Northeast Ohio where…” by rating the relative importance of 15 statements such as “…My community has an urban character” or “…My taxes are low” or “I can get to places without a car.” Dynamic imaging in the tool changes the size and emphasis of a set of priority icons depending on the choices the user makes.

Next, the user learns about the ways that different policy choices can impact a variety of priorities, in positive and negative ways. For example, one Project option in the tool is “Invest in pedestrian, bicycling and public transit services.” This project positively supports the priority of having a community where kids can walk to school, or having a community with an urban character. However, it negatively impacts the priority of keeping taxes low.

Lastly, users are asked to “put your money where you ‘mouse’ is!” by allotting limited resources (in this case, 15 coins) to different projects, all of which have differing resource costs and differing impacts on priorities. Users can revise and rethink their choices to find the actions that most positively support their preferred priorities.

“The issues we are wrestling with are extremely important,” added Mr. Morrison. “They can sometimes seem technical or staid to a lay person, but we really want to hear from the broadest range of residents possible, so we designed ImagineMyNEO to make the issues of regional sustainability, and the trade-offs and choices that we face, easy to understand and relevant.”

ImagineMyNEO is the second component to NEOSCC’s Vibrant NEO 2040 scenario planning process. First, a round of community workshops was held in late April/early May, attracting nearly 600 participants to six events across Northeast Ohio. Those workshops focused on looking into a scenario referred to as “Business as Usual,” which used current and recent data to create projected scenarios about what Northeast Ohio will be like in 2040 – if we keep doing what we have been doing. (The “Business-as-Usual” presentation, along with a video developed to provide an overview of Vibrant NEO, can be viewed at

Input from attendees will be used to create additional projections for a series of public open houses in late July/early August concentrating on “Alternative Scenarios.” During these open houses, the data collected through ImagineMyNEO will be presented to attendees. Like the “Business as Usual” scenario, the “Alternative Scenarios” will be projections of Northeast Ohio’s future, but, informed with resident feedback and priorities, they will look at that would happen if we do things differently and make different choices.

Lastly, a round of public workshops in mid-September will build off of all previous efforts and, factoring in Northeast Ohio’s stated priorities and values, will develop the region’s Preferred Scenario that can serve as a roadmap to a more vibrant, resilient and sustainable Northeast Ohio.



Transportation as a Civil Rights Issue Forum on Thursday

June 11, 2013 in Transportation

You are invited to participate in a discussion titled “Transportation as a Civil Rights Issue.” The keynote speaker for the discussion will be Samuel Gresham Jr., former head of the Columbus Urban League and the Ohio Commission on African American Males. Mr. Gresham Jr. is current chair of Common Cause Ohio.

The discussion will take place at CSU’s Levin College of Urban Affairs (1717 Euclid Ave.) at 4pm on June 13th. For more information visit Bike Cleveland site.