OSWEGO – Governor Andrew Cuomo today (September 19) announced six projects being funded under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in Oswego.
The Governor’s $25 million initiative was created to help 16 communities develop locally driven strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity for all New Yorkers.
“As part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we are creating meaningful change for hard-working families across New York,” Governor Cuomo said. “I look forward to our continued work to deliver real results in these high-need communities and commend Oswego officials for their hard work and dedication to fighting the root causes of poverty in their community.”
“As part of our Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we’re providing funding to communities across the state to address the critical issue of poverty that continues to impact the lives of so many New Yorkers,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “We want to ensure that people who are living in poverty are given the opportunities and resources they need to help lead a more stable life. This investment in poverty reduction programs in Oswego will provide increased economic opportunity for residents and help further our efforts to grow the Central New York region.”
Shortly after the Governor announced the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in 2016, Albany, Binghamton, the Bronx, Buffalo, Elmira, Hempstead, Jamestown, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Oneonta, Oswego, Syracuse, Troy, Utica and Watertown joined Rochester by developing local task forces to oversee efforts and administer state funding.
Initially, these task forces worked to identify high-need areas and develop recommendations for investments and other changes to reduce the number of individuals living in poverty. Now, the task forces are beginning to implement the poverty reduction plans developed in the first phase, utilizing the ESPRI funding.
Mayor of Oswego Billy Barlow said, “Successfully combating poverty is critical to the City of Oswego’s success and with the support of Governor Cuomo and the ESPRI funding, we are able to create and deliver several programs that can make a positive difference and help those in our community who need it most. Our goal is to use this funding to administer initiatives arming individuals with the skills they need to break the cycle of poverty, establish confidence and independence and set them on a path to self-sufficiency so they lift themselves out of poverty and thrive.”
The six programs approved for funding in Oswego are:
· County of Oswego Council on Alcoholism & Addictions, $55,000 – Two part-time certified peer engagement specialists will be hired to expand assistance to the community for clients dealing with overdose, emergency room visits and other pressing health concerns. The specialists will be mobile and available to meet with individuals in the community to connect them with substance abuse treatment, as well as physical and mental health services.
· Victory Transformation, $26,000 – The funding will be used to provide transitional housing and employment assistance for individuals considered unemployable in a traditional work setting. Target groups to be served include long-term public assistance recipients, individuals returning to the community from prison, people in addiction recovery and individuals with mental health issues.
· Oswego County Opportunities, $162,000 – To improve access to programs, a space at Midtown Plaza will be used to create a community hub for service providers for low-income residents, allowing easy access to comprehensive support in transportation, childcare, work and school. The hub will include workforce development activities to help prepare people for employment, as well as family advocates to work with families of students enrolled in the Oswego After School Program to get them more engaged in their child’s education.
· Oswego Health, $27,000 – A ride-sharing program for employees of Oswego Health will help transport individuals without adequate transportation, which can often impede efforts to get and hold onto a job. The effort also includes a “health train” program to train new employees for clinical and non-clinical jobs, utilizing the van to transport individuals to training sessions.
· Literacy Coalition, $22,000 – A “One District, One Book” project will be held in grades K-5 in the Oswego City School District to help create a literacy community through the practice of reading. The project aims to provide every student, faculty and staff member with a free book to encourage students to practice reading aloud at home with their parents, helping foster a passion for reading while demonstrating an understanding of the value of home literacy for parents.
· Fulton/Oswego Salvation Army, $101,000 – The Pathway of Hope initiative will provide long-term assistance for families struggling to break the cycle of poverty. A range of services will be provided, dealing with unemployment, unstable housing, education and childcare, among others, to ensure parents who are most at-risk are connected to evidence-based strategies that will improve the family’s overall functioning.
Senator Patty Ritchie said, “It is critical that we continue to invest in organizations that have a proven track record of helping those struggling to make ends meet. Through this funding, we are ensuring these groups–which have that track record–can continue to have a positive impact on Oswego County through healthcare, housing support, job searches, economic security and more. Everyone deserves the opportunity to succeed and I am proud to invest in these organizations, their programs and our future.”
Assemblymember Will Barclay said, “It is important that we break the cycle of poverty in our communities and address those factors that have an influence over it. The six projects selected for funding for the City of Oswego under the Governor’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative target those areas that have an impact on poverty locally and provides direct educational and support resources to empower individuals and families. I know that the City of Oswego and local community organizations worked hard in creating this plan and I am pleased to see the state funding awarded.”
Oswego County Legislature Chair Shane Broadwell said, “The Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative supports community-led programs and plans that tackle specific challenges facing families and residents in Oswego County. The programs that received funding are already improving the lives of many Oswego residents, and with this investment these organizations will be able to provide opportunities to many more. We are grateful to the State and Governor Cuomo for funding these projects that will continue to uplift those in our community who are most in need.”
Oswego County Opportunities Executive Director Diane Cooper-Currier said, “We are very excited to begin this work on addressing the needs of the low income in the City of Oswego. The funding through the Governor’s Empire State Poverty Initiative is providing a great opportunity to implement projects that are unique to the needs of low-income residents in the city of Oswego.”