social justice beat

photo of Tara Brown's former house
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

When the housing bubble burst, it left a trail of dilapidated homes in Ohio’s cities and rural communities. A decade later, that gave birth to a new problem for those communities: lease-to-own deals that promised a piece of the American dream but often turned out to be nightmares. 

photo of former GM plant in Lordstown
M.L. Schultze / WKSU

This article was updated on January 14, 2020.

For a century, the Mahoning Valley has ebbed and flowed with the fortunes of traditional manufacturing. Now, it’s looking toward a new economy: one defined by distribution centers and autonomous and electric vehicles. What are the prospects for transformation.

A photo of the University of Akron Driver's License clinic
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

This story was originally published on June 4, 2019.

Ohio suspended the driver’s licenses of more than 1 million people, many of whom can’t afford to get those licenses back. But that doesn’t mean they’re not on the road. So until July 31, the state is offering a limited amnesty. On paper, it looks like Ohio is forgiving $500 million dollars in reinstatement penalties. But, advocates see it as a crucial investment in people, jobs and community.  

photo of swearing-in ceremony
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Immigrants are increasingly the targets of money-making scams. However there are a growing number of grassroots efforts to provide them with the information and tools to avoid these scams.

In the second of two stories on threats against Ohio’s immigrants, we look at local efforts to keep them from becoming victims.

a photo of a church service in Salem
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Like a lot of people, immigrants are targeted by scammers -- from phony IRS agents to bogus legal services. What often makes them more susceptible, and the scammers more successful, is the drumbeat of a single threat: deportation.

A photo of Amer Adi
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Ohio is far from the U.S. southern border, but the policies and practices there are playing out here daily. The Cleveland Immigration Court has a caseload numbering in the thousands. Ohio jails and private prisons are collecting millions of dollars to house immigrants. And immigrant families who have lived in Ohio for years are planning their departures. Ohio is playing a big role in the national immigration debate.

A photo of Andrew Bridges
M.L. SCHULTZE / WKSU

Over the last seven years, Ohio’s been slowly changing a set of laws that many believe keeps people from getting jobs, paying child support, even volunteering in their community. In the first of two stories on Ohio’s official second chances, we examine how some of these changes are playing out.