CLEVELAND – While Cleveland has seen much progress in recent years, there are a number of problems that still exist and seem to be getting worse.

Three of the biggest problems: the health of Lake Erie headed downward, an opioid crisis that we can’t slow down, and a declining population that’s leading to more abandoned homes each day.

On Wednesday, we found out Lake Erie is the worst of all the great lakes when it comes to pollution, habitats and algal blooms. These problems affect the food we get from the lake, and the water we drink. There aren’t any problems yet, but we could face a water emergency if things get worse. Toledo experienced a water emergency just 3 years ago due to algal blooms.

And when it comes to opioids, the numbers in Cleveland continue to worsen. There have been 248 heroin and fentanyl deaths this year through May in Cuyahoga County according to the Medical Examiner’s Office. That’s up 39% from last year’s numbers during the same time period.

Finally, Cleveland’s population is down nearly 3% since 2010, and nearly 50% since 1970. This drop in population has lead to blight in the city’s neighborhoods because of abandoned homes. Some people believe too much money is being spent downtown instead of in the neighborhoods.

To deal with all the empty homes, the City of Cleveland has budgeted $5 million to demolish them. It’s a good start, but Cleveland still has some big issues to fix going forward.