Twelve Programs to Begin With More Than $900,000 in State Funding Investment Complements Southern Tier Soaring, the Region's Comprehensive Strategy to Revitalize Communities and Grow the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced 12 projects that will be funded under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in Binghamton. These projects are a direct result of ESPRI, the Governor's $25 million initiative to help 16 communities develop locally-driven strategies to reduce poverty and increase economic opportunity for all New Yorkers. Today's investment complements Southern Tier Soaring, the region's comprehensive strategy to revitalize communities and grow the economy.
"Through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we are empowering communities to connect people with opportunities that help create a path out of poverty and toward economic independence," Governor Cuomo said. "I look forward to these programs delivering results and commend Binghamton for their efforts to better the lives of many of its residents."
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 local 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.
The 12 programs approved for funding in Binghamton are:
- Mothers and Babies Perinatal Network of South Central New York, $206,000 - The Women's Empowerment Circle project will provide comprehensive support services for single parents and pregnant women in Binghamton. Participants will get help finding safe, affordable housing, accessing preventive and primary health care and addressing their transportation needs in order to achieve their goals.
- Rural Health Network of South Central New York, $169,000 - The Transportation Employment Program will help individuals who cannot find a job due to a lack of transportation. The program will include a transportation voucher service, enabling participants to get to work or to a location offering job training. It will also include a vanpool service that will transport workers to and from their place of employment with participants covering half of the monthly expense of the service.
- Broome County Urban League, $168,000 - The funding will be used to provide training and job placement assistance with the goal of develop technology, education and workforce skills that better position participants in the job market. As part of this effort, trainees will be exposed to various forms of new media as a possible path to employment.
- United Way of Broome County, $100,000 - The Binghamton Community Advocates Project will provide a comprehensive support system by helping community residents address barriers to gainful employment, educational opportunities and affordable housing. Advocates will also support activities that empower residents to be actively engaged in their community.
- Upstate Minority Economic Alliance, $75,000 - This funding will support a multi-pronged approach to support the creation and growth of minority-owned businesses. It includes a trades apprenticeship program, a course to help participants build a business plan so they can launch and grow their own business and apply for state certification as a Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE), enabling them to more effectively compete for state contracts.
- The Salvation Army, $65,500 - The Pathway of Hope program will serve parents of school-aged children who are unemployed or underemployed, helping them focus on addressing the root causes keeping families from becoming self-sufficient.
- Crime Victims Assistance Center, $61,000 - The Crime Victims Assistance Center will collaborate with the Binghamton Promise Zone on an in-school program that targets at-risk youth and their families that have been exposed to adverse experiences and trauma, including victimization, sexual abuse, alcohol and drug use, witnessing domestic violence, commercial sexual exploitation and gang affiliation. The goal is to create meaningful connections with engaged youth and families to reduce further trauma, reduce the effects of poverty and help families thrive.
- Catholic Charities of Broome County, $35,000 - A community empowerment center will provide services, support and mentoring to low-income individuals and families.
- WSKG Public Telecommunications Council, $30,000 - The Southern Tier Journal, an eight-episode television series, will shed light on the severity of local poverty, the local challenges faced by those living in poverty and the real-life stories of individuals, businesses and communities that have been successful in helping people build better lives.
- Binghamton Regional Sustainability Coalition, $15,000 - The funding will support an outreach and advertising campaign to mobilize the community and other stakeholders in support of efforts to develop a food cooperative in the northside of Binghamton to help address food insecurity.
- Broome Tioga NAACP/Economic Development Committee, $10,000 - The Youth Employment Preparation Program will focus on increasing the percentage of Binghamton youth that obtain employment. The program will support historically marginalized youth, providing them with professional development, job fairs, as well as computer training and certification.
- Research Foundation for the State University of New York, $6,000 - Broome County HEARS (Higher Education Access, Retention, Success) will work with adults focusing on educational and civic engagement, providing participants with increased skills in leadership, teamwork, program planning, project implementation and evaluation practices. The purpose of the program is for participants to engage in workshops that will assist them in developing ideas for a community-based project.
"As part of our Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we're providing funding to communities across our 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 Binghamton will provide increased economic opportunity for residents and complements the Southern Tier Soaring initiative to revitalize the region."
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said, "The barriers to overcoming poverty are unique to each community and these locally-generated approaches are designed to address each community's needs. Through ESPRI, Governor Cuomo has developed a model that empowers local leaders to address the root causes of poverty in the most effective way."
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Governor Cuomo recognizes that for communities to thrive, we must deliver resources to help less fortunate residents. The ESPRI gives a helping hand to those suffering at the hands of poverty, which in turn strengthens community bonds, gives residents a sense of pride and fosters real growth both in and beyond each locality. These are great programs that will help deliver an equal economic playing field so that we can all prosper."
Interagency Coordinator of Non-profit Organizations Fran Barrett said, "ESPRI continues Governor Cuomo's successful efforts to tackle the root causes of poverty and income inequality. Through ESPRI, Governor Cuomo has empowered low income New Yorkers to design strategies for removing the barriers they face to achieving economic and social mobility. This is an exciting moment as the citizens of Binghamton are working together for tangible results. The unique system-changing projects launched today are a great example of the work being done across the state in all 16 ESPRI localities. We applaud the work of Binghamton's local leadership and look forwards to seeing the impact this effort will have on the lives of Binghamton families.
Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo said, "Poverty remains one of the central issues facing Upstate communities like ours. Collaboration between residents, service providers, and community leaders has helped the Binghamton-Broome Anti-Poverty Initiative identify both our strengths and weaknesses. The United Way of Broome County has assembled a diverse team to support these new initiatives and I am very hopeful that these projects will begin producing tangible results in our effort to address local poverty."
Broome County Executive Jason Garnar said, "Broome County leaders have organized with community and agency directors to leverage increased local access to youth and adult work readiness services, apprenticeship training and advocacy all."
Binghamton Mayor Rich David said, "While there has been much talk in recent years about the resurgence Binghamton has enjoyed, the reality is far too many of our residents - and especially our children - live in poverty. This infusion of nearly $1 million by New York State directly into our community will help low-income families and individuals climb out of poverty and will support the efforts and hard work of the many agencies already on the front lines. It will take all of us continuing to work together to end poverty in our community and make life in Binghamton better for us all. I thank Governor Cuomo for his support and the other members of the Binghamton-Broome Anti-Poverty Initiative for their many months of hard work."
United Way of Broome County Executive Director Jacqueline Gerchman said, "The United Way of Broome County is honored to serve the community as the backbone organization for the ESPRI Binghamton-Broome Anti-Poverty Initiative (BBAPI). Working with community residents, elected officials, and individuals impacted by poverty, has enriched the lives of the participants and community programs involved in the initiative. The work of our community will be realized through the Phase II funding by NYS and we are excited to continue this fight against poverty throughout the City of Binghamton and Broome County."
The Governor's Nonprofit Coordination Unit, along with the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, New York State Homes and Community Renewal, and the New York State Grants and Reform Team last year held listening sessions across the state to discuss updates with the Governor's ESPRI program, answer questions, and connect local government with non-profit providers and business groups. The remaining ESPRI-communities are all in various stages of developing and enacting their local recommendations and are expected to announce their individual poverty reduction plans in the coming months.