Three Programs to Begin With Support From More Than $400,000 in State Funding
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced three projects are being funded under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in Albany. 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.
"Through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we are empowering communities to connect people with opportunities that help move them on a path out of poverty toward economic independence," Governor Cuomo said. "I look forward to these programs delivering results and commend Albany for their efforts to get to this point."
“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 Albany will provide increased economic opportunity for residents in the Capital 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 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 three programs approved for funding in Albany are:
- Albany Community Action Partnership, $225,000 - Funding will be used to expand employment-related services for Albany's most vulnerable workers and help individuals achieve licensing as certified commercial drivers or as medical administrative assistants.
- Homeless and Travelers Aid Society, $171,000 - Funding will be used for an employment initiative, supporting on-the-job warehousing training for formerly incarcerated individuals. There will be an incentive for employers in this field to hire and retain program participants.
- Albany Housing Coalition, $66,000 - Funding will be used to expand the coalition's Veterans Employment Program, which connects participants with training, meaningful employment and housing stability in affordable supportive housing units to ensure they can get a job and keep it. Services will be available to all low-income veterans in the City of Albany.
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 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 Albany 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 Albany's local leadership and look forward to seeing the impact this effort will have on the lives of Albany families.
Senator Neil Breslin said, "The funding provided from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative towards the Albany Community Action Partnership, Homeless and Travelers Aid Society and the Albany Housing Coalition will provide real economic opportunity for people in need of assistance. I applaud Governor Cuomo and the Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance for their continued investment in poverty reduction programs."
Assembly Member Patricia Fahy said, "The cycle of poverty can be particularly vicious for some of Albany's most vulnerable families. Investing in innovative poverty reduction programs focusing on employment, housing and homelessness reductions goes a long way in aiding our community. Many thanks to Governor Cuomo for collaborating with our community-based organizations to help stem the growth of poverty in the Capital Region and helping working class families gain financial stability."
Assembly Member John McDonald said, “Poverty is a serious and complex issue that cannot be solved by one solution alone. These customized programs are the product of community input and will help eliminate some of the barriers preventing our residents from rising up out of poverty. Through Governor Cuomo’s leadership, together we can make an impact in the lives of Albany residents who live in poverty, and increase economic opportunity for all.”
Albany County Executive Dan McCoy said, "As the federal government continues to turn its back on the economically disadvantaged of this country, from attempting to raise rents for public housing to stripping away health insurance, this initiative couldn't come at a better time. I want to thank the Governor for partnering with localities to deliver critical services that are proven to help those in need get back on their feet, find stable housing and get back to work."
Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan said, "We recognize that many barriers exist that prevent individuals from obtaining or retaining gainful employment or enrolling and completing training and workforce development programs; barriers such as the cost of childcare, transportation, or lack of licenses and certifications that can help build viable careers. I am proud to join Governor Cuomo to announce the funding for these three programs that are working to eliminate barriers for individuals seeking to advance their career or re-renter the workforce right here in New York's Capital City. I commend Governor Cuomo for his unwavering commitment to reducing poverty throughout the Empire State."
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.