Faced with an $8.5 billion loss, the U.S. Postal Service has been cutting back: slashing hours, combining routes and closing offices. In East Cleveland, Ohio, the city’s only post office has been downsized from nearly 100 employees to just one.
The cutback is deeply troubling for the hard-pressed urban community and came as a punch in the gut to people like Robyn Hales.
Hales’ father delivered mail in East Cleveland. She says her dad’s job helped propel her family into the middle class. Her family was the first of what would be many African-American families to move to the block.
Everyone knew Mr. Hales.
“On cold days they gave him coffee. He knew when people were sick. He would check on people, things like that. He was their friend,” she says.
But her hometown has hit hard times. One-fourth of the houses in the city are vacant. After decades of corrupt or inept leadership, East Cleveland is a financial mess. Businesses have shuttered. Even the library is in budget trouble.