Re: Creation of Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force
Date: January 18, 2015
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the ninth part of the “2015 Opportunity Agenda” – the creation of the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force, an interagency workgroup that will partner with Rochester public, private and not for profit leaders to combat poverty and fight inequality in the City.
“Rochester’s most vulnerable population should not be forced to live in despair, and it is government’s job to support our hardworking families when they need it the most,” Governor Cuomo said. “Working with local leaders, this Task Force will explore the root causes of poverty in Rochester and come up with meaningful solutions to help this population rise into a more stable way of life.”
Rochester is one of the poorest cities in the nation. Building on the Governor’s 10 point Anti-Poverty Opportunity Agenda, and understanding the unique need in Rochester, this newTask Force will coordinate and integrate resources, utilize data and information technology, develop more flexible funding arrangements, and evaluate services based on outcomes.
There can be no better argument for doing this now than the startling conclusions of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and ACT Rochester’s recent poverty report, which concluded that Rochester ranks highest in the nation amongst comparably sized cities for:
- Childhood poverty;
- Extreme poverty (rate of those below 50% of the federal poverty level);
- The poverty rate for female-headed households;
- Poverty rate for those with less than a high school diploma;
- Poverty rate among those identified as being of two or more races; and
- The percent of overall population that is poor and has some form of disability.
While an array of services exists for those in need, poverty remains an unsolved problem in Rochester. Money and effort has been devoted to combatting poverty there, but it isn’t working, and something different must be done.
Local leaders from government, business and the not for profit sector recognize that the existing uncoordinated and inadequately evaluated “system” currently in place to discover and tackle the root causes of poverty is not working. As a result, leaders of these sectors have begun the process of working to better coordinate their efforts.
The Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force will partner with this community effort to better coordinate and integrate services, utilize data and information technology, develop more flexible funding arrangements, and evaluate services based on outcomes. Concurrently, this working group will combine state services and available resources with Rochester’s unique needs.