Nov.21, 2008: Congressman Ryan Joins the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative | Congressman Tim Ryan
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Nov.21, 2008: Congressman Ryan Joins the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative

November 21, 2008
Press Release


Washington, D.C.) Congressman Tim Ryan has joined the Mahoning Valley Organizing Collaborative, along with elected and community leaders in sending a letter to Lt. Governor Lee Fisher asking him to meet with them to discuss the foreclosure crisis facing the area. The letter was signed by fourteen community leaders and asks the Lt. Governor for a meeting to discuss the allocations contained in the state’s Neighborhood Stabilization Program. It is expected that this money will be released in early 2009.


The letter follows.


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