Alliance Supports Anti-Poverty Efforts in Central New York
Initiative Aims to Address Poverty in Five County Region as Outlined in the "CNY Rising" Plan - The Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 22 projects have been selected to be funded through the $30 million Alliance for Economic Inclusion anti-poverty initiative in Central New York. Founded in 2017, the AEI is comprised of a group of 24 community leaders from within the five counties of Central New York who were chosen to represent the diversity of governments, businesses, schools and economic opportunities and challenges as identified by the community. Onondaga County will administer the project funding upfront and then will be reimbursed by the state. Funding for the first round of the initiative totals $6.9 million, with the opportunity for the chosen projects to earn further funding in subsequent years.
"New York will continue to empower communities, creating and expanding economic opportunity in every corner of this great state," Governor Cuomo said. "These projects address the needs of this region's most vulnerable communities, producing meaningful change and helping all of Central New York continue to rise."
“We’re aggressively working to address the issue of poverty across the state, including in Central New York,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, chair of the statewide Regional Economic Development Councils. “The Regional Economic Development Council is targeting projects that directly address economic inequity. These initiatives will provide individuals with opportunities to rise out of their circumstances and lead productive lives.”
The AEI is being funded through the successful CNY Rising Upstate Revitalization Initiative plan submitted by the Central New York Regional Economic Development Council, which was tasked with addressing poverty in Cayuga, Cortland, Madison, Oswego and Onondaga Counties. Estimates based on 2016 population data show 14.9 percent or 112,020 of Central New York residents live in poverty. The poverty rate is significantly higher in more populated centers such as the City of Syracuse.
The awarded projects cover a broad range of issues and are broken into six categories: Early-Childhood Education, Transportation, Workforce Development, Post-Secondary Education, Neighborhood Revitalization, and Access to Startup Funding. More than half of the projects awarded focus on workforce development which remains a significant barrier to moving people out of poverty. Last fall, the council released a request for proposals to the five-county region and received a total of 92 responses. A second Requests for Proposals for the initiative will be issued later this year.
The selected projects include:
- The Triple Win Program Administered Through Responsive to our Community, Inc.: This program will work to refurbish vacant and dilapidated buildings in all five counties, in partnership with the local land banks and municipalities; Conduct DOL Nationally Certified On-The-Job Construction Job Training for underemployed veterans and their family members; Provide Survivor Support for the homeless, domestic violence survivors and their children, and very low-income residents by supplying sustainable, safe, and affordable housing. Year one Budget: $465,000/ Total Budget: $465,000.
- Cayuga/Seneca Community Action Agency Employment Pathways Program: Employment Pathways is a workforce development program designed to connect people in poverty to career path opportunities within regional growth industries. The Employment Pathways Program will increase career and technical opportunities among the low-income population, increase the number of low-income adults graduating from college, increase the number of students matriculating to higher education, increase underemployed and unemployed individuals placed in jobs, increase access to transportation and child care, and improve the overall health and well-being of participants. Year one Budget: $154,366/ Total Budget: $771,828.
- Providence Services Shuttle to Work Program: Transportation has been the missing link for many people working to escape poverty and to fully benefit from many Workforce Development programs. This proposal fills that gap. The Shuttle to Work program will provide transportation to and from work for individuals in Syracuse and East Syracuse the first year and will pick individuals up at a location close to their homes and drop them off at their work locations. The Shuttles will operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week as needed. The cost will be $5.00 per rider for up to 6 riders per van. Year one Budget: $46,000/ Total Budget: $414,000.
Projects were awarded to each of the five counties and were distributed as follows Cayuga - one; Cortland -one; Madison - one; Onondaga - ten; and Oswego -three. There were also six projects that combined multiple counties. The percent of money distributed corresponds with the total number of people living in poverty in each county.
For a complete list of the 22 chosen projects, click here.
The $30 million for anti-poverty efforts through the AEI will complement $20 million the state has already awarded for the New York State Syracuse Promise Scholarship Fund which will provide scholarships to Syracuse city school graduates.
Empire State Development President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "Access to economic opportunity for all requires a robust system of partners and solutions. The Alliance for Economic Inclusion will support and help affected communities to work together, ensuring that everyone in the region has a solid path towards prosperity."
CNYREDC Co-Chairs SUNY Upstate Medical Center President Dr. Danielle Laraque-Arena and Randy Wolken, President & CEO of the Manufacturers Association of Central New York said, "Fighting poverty is a top priority for the Regional Economic Development Council. Through the Alliance for Economic inclusion the council and area partners are working to ensure that economic revitalization initiatives will benefit every family in every county throughout the region, creating solid opportunities for all."
Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney said, "This collaborative effort will work to create significant change in the region and offer real solutions to the problems that poverty presents. I am grateful to Governor Cuomo for his continued partnership on this important issue and Onondaga County is proud to be a leading in this effort."
Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh said, "Alliance for Economic Inclusion funding helps the City of Syracuse, Onondaga County and our community partners undertake the complex and broad efforts needed to address poverty. These programs give real people in Syracuse and throughout the State help in lifting themselves out of poverty. As a community, we can't do this work alone, so we appreciate Governor Cuomo's consistent support for the people of Syracuse."
The regionally focused AEI initiative was created to tackle health and safety issues, secure affordable housing for those who need it and increase career and technical educational opportunities. Priority was given to initiatives that incorporated features such as addressing systems change, offered cost-effective solutions scalable to a larger audience, collaboration, partnership and/or coalition-based solutions and to sustainable solutions that will exist after the funding period has ended.
Accelerating CNY Rising
Today's announcement complements "CNY Rising," the region's comprehensive blueprint to generate robust economic growth and community development. The State has already invested more than $4.7 billion in the region since 2012 to lay the groundwork for the plan - capitalizing on global market opportunities, strengthening entrepreneurship and creating an inclusive economy. Today, unemployment is down to the lowest levels since before the Great Recession; personal and corporate income taxes are down; and businesses are choosing places like Syracuse, Oswego and Auburn as a destination to grow and invest in.
Now, the region is accelerating Central NY Rising with a $500 million State investment through the Upstate Revitalization Initiative, announced by Governor Cuomo in December 2015. The State's $500 million investment will incentivize private business to invest well over $2.5 billion - and the region's plan, as submitted, projects up to 5,900 new jobs. More information is available here.