Four of us attended the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing meeting held at the Mentor Civic Center on Monday, 10/23/17. It was conducted by Mr. Tom O’Hara, Planner / Economic & Community Development, for the City of Mentor. Another notable in attendance was Miriam Norman, of the Lake County Community Block Grant program. Ms. Norman and her group were there to assist Mr. O’Hara in complying with the Department of HUD’s program.
The purpose of the meeting was to solicit input from citizens on how to eliminate “barriers to employment”, or other inequalities of life for the federally mandated protected classes in the City of Mentor. The City was given $162,000 from the federal government’s Department of HUD to conduct this research.
You might ask what is a protected class? Here is what was listed on a survey given to us:
Race / Color / National Origin / Ethnicity / Disability / Religion / Sex / Family Status / Military Status……
It is believed that people in these protected classes are more likely to be discriminated against by society and live in poverty.
We, in our humble opinion, believe that they are missing a very important group of people. We think that seniors living on a fixed income should be a protected class.
Our first question was how many people in Mentor fit the profile of protected classes? The answer given was that they do not know. How many people can be classified as “low income”? Ms. Norman, adeptly using her computer to search for an answer, did state that ~25% of Mentor households are classified as “low income”. (Low income described as with an annual income of $49,000 or less for a household of 4.)
The population of the City of Mentor is 47,000 – 48,000, so that means approximately 11,750 – 12,250 fit into the “low income” definition.
Mr. O’Hara expressed concern for the residents of the Mentor Headland’s area and wondered about the possibility of introducing transportation so those residents could get to work. It was also stated that Mentor businesses on Tyler Boulevard expressed concern about Mentor residents not being able to get to work because of the lack of public transportation.
We suggested that instead of expensive public transportation with the costs borne by the taxpayer why not look into the costs of using “Uber”. Ms. Norman and her group did say that they had been thinking along those lines.
Another suggestion from another attendee was that the businesses on Tyler Boulevard sponsor some type of shuttle bus service to pick up and drop off their employees that live in Mentor, rather than those transportation costs being paid by Mentor or Lake County residents.
As I did in the AFFH meeting last year, I said that in order to solve the “barrier problem” we must first fix the family structure that has been destroyed in the past 50 years. And like last year, that suggestion was totally dismissed because the traditional family is no longer wanted, needed, or celebrated by a large % of the overall population. [My Opinion: When we destroy the family, babies and morality a society will collapse on itself]
In the end, I must say that nothing was really accomplished. We could not provide Mr. O’Hara with any magic answers on how to solve Mentor’s perceived “barrier” problems. [In my opinion, the $162,000 could have been better spent]