Conor Morris
Conor Morris

Stories by: Conor Morris

Conor Morris is a corps member with Report for America. Morris covered Appalachian southeast Ohio for the weekly newspaper The Athens News for six years. He reported on Athens County, but especially local government, the campus of Ohio University (his alma mater), cops and courts, and the social and economic issues facing the residents of Ohio’s poorest county. Morris helped guide The News toward two Newspaper of the Year awards in its division of the annual Ohio News Media Association Hooper Contest. Morris himself won six first-place Hooper awards for his reporting over the years, including for a story series about police and hospital failures in a sexual- assault investigation in Athens. Morris was born in Marietta, Ohio.
Central ripple: One year later, Central residents still await full effects of Central Surge
It’s been more than a year since Cuyahoga County executive Armond Budish announced a “surge” of support to lift up the Central neighborhood in Cleveland. Some residents say they’ve noticed little material change. Where does the surge plan go from here?
Food desert: Central residents long for a grocery store as negotiations drag on
Many Cleveland neighborhoods—almost 60% according to one estimate—are not in close proximity to a grocery store, effectively stranding people access to fresh and healthy food. The Central neighborhood is no different. What’s being done about it?
Stuck in Cleveland: Riders struggle to use public transit to get to work
Northeast Ohio residents’ ability to get to work by public transit has been in the spotlight in recent years, with the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority’s  NextGen route redesign, implemented in June 2021, attempting to improve service frequency and job access. This may help, but what else can be done? 
 
How area communities are building small transit solutions to solve big issue of sprawl
While GCRTA's recent NextGen route redesign has helped some people get to work on time, other smaller Northeast Ohio cities are working on their own public transit solutions, and how the Paradox Prize helped them do it.
Join us for a conversation with Cleveland, Philadelphia, and San Antonio about rising water bills
Earlier this month FreshWater Cleveland and the Northeast Ohio Journalism Collaborative ran a series on water affordability. Now we are hosting a virtual conversation to further discuss what can be about the rising costs of water and sewer bills. 
What Cleveland can learn from how San Antonio helps low-income residents with water bills
From Cleveland to Philly to San Antonio, water-discount programs aren’t reaching everyone they should. Because of this, University of Wisconsin-Madison associate professor Manny Teodoro says these programs should only be one part of the solution. What else can be done?
 
What can Philadelphia learn from Cleveland’s water department?
In the second part of this NEO SoJo series on water affordability, we travel from Philadelphia back to Cleveland to look at the successes and failings of water discount programs meant to help low-income people.
 
What can Cleveland learn from Philadelphia’s ambitious experiment in water billing?
Water has increasingly become more expensive for people struggling to make ends meet. In part one of this three part series, NEO SoJo reporter Conor Morris examines what Philadelphia is doing to relieve some people of the financial burden—and how Cleveland can follow suit. 

 
Utility bill struggles: Federal programs exist, but how easy are they to access?
Dealing with a mounting utility bill or shut-off notice can be scary. There are programs out there to help, but they can be difficult to navigate.
Eligible low-income renters aren’t aware of, or tapping into, sewer bill relief programs
The Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District is expanding its affordability program to now apply to renters, and to those with a higher income than before. Will that boost enrollment in a program that only had 12% of eligible customers signed up?
 
Federal aid arrives for low-income residents’ water and sewer bills
For the first time ever, the federal government has created a program to help low-income people with their water/sewer bills. Applications are now being accepted in Cleveland through CHN Partners.
The Child Tax Credit is helping Clevelanders, but some families have missed it
An estimated 116,500 families in Ohio—including many in the Cleveland area—missed out on the $250-$300 monthly advance Child Tax Credit payments. What happened, and what can be done to remedy that problem?
Water woes: The number of delinquent Cleveland water accounts has doubled during pandemic
The number of people behind on their water bills in the Cleveland area has doubled during the pandemic. Now, more than one in every five water accounts are behind by at least one bill, as the city has resumed water shutoffs for nonpayment. What can be done about this problem?
 
The deadline is fast approaching to get advance child tax credit: A FAQ
Not all families in Northeast Ohio have received the expanded child tax credits. With a deadline fast approaching to receive the advance payments, NEO SoJo has created an FAQ to answer common questions and help folks sign up.
Central neighborhood residents react to 'surge' of support plans
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish and other local politicians caught an earful when they gathered at a shopping plaza in Cleveland’s Central neighborhood in mid-August to discuss ideas around the funding “surge” to address poverty and inequity.
Cuyahoga County partners with DigitalC to grow internet in Central as part of Budish surge
Cuyahoga County Executive Armond Budish announced a major project last week to expand wireless internet access to approximately 70% of Cleveland’s Central neighborhood, and provide Internet equipment to 500 of 2,500 households.
Voters first: What residents thought of Cle mayoral candidates’ responses on economy and education
NEO SoJO reporter Conor Morris reports in part two on Ideastream Public Media's and The City Club of Cleveland's forum to hear from those who asked questions during  the second Cleveland mayoral forum.
 
What did residents think of Cleveland mayoral candidates’ responses to their questions?
Northeast Ohio residents got the opportunity to question seven candidates for Cleveland mayor about their priorities on public safety, racial equity, and more last week during a mayoral debate coordinated by Ideastream Public Media and the City Club of Cleveland. Read what these residents thought. 

 
What should NE Ohio’s economic recovery look like? Take our survey, or meet us in person
NEO SoJo will soon embark on a year-long reporting project on the region’s economic recovery from the pandemic. To help steer us in the right direction, we’re embarking on a listening tour. You can help by taking our short survey or meet us at one of our upcoming events.
 
Bouncing back: What should Northeast Ohio’s economic recovery look like? Come tell us on July 29
Come join the NEO SoJo group for our Common Ground listening event to talk about the region's economic recovery and the child tax credit.