City council reaches out to northeast neighbors

COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Columbus City Council members met with neighbors in northeast Columbus Wednesday night to talk about issues in their communities.

The event was held at the Capital Park Family Health Center, where many patients are foreign-born.

Hassan Omar is Somali and has been in the U.S. for more than 25 years.

“We came here to America with little or nothing,” Omar said.

As president of the Somali Community Association of Ohio, he’s passionate about issues that affect Somalis, like what he sees as a lack of support for small businesses.

“The Somali community actually created small businesses, ranging from little shop[s] to malls, and then we haven’t seen the encouragement or investment and even acknowledgement,” Omar said.

Omar was among those who met with council members at the Health Center. City council members said this was a way to meet people and speak informally outside the walls of City Hall.

“I love it,” Laura Berger said. “I absolutely love it, because they’re coming into your neighborhood to talk to you personally.”

Berger, who works for a group that provides social services to the Ethiopian community, said she hopes council members will listen to concerns about housing and food security for new Americans.

“It’s really giving people a voice and feeling appreciated for what they have to say,” Berger said. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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