Seven Programs to Begin with Support from $570,000 in State Funding
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced seven projects are being funded under the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in Newburgh. 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.
"New York will empower Newburgh through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative to connect its residents 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 meaningful results and commend Newburgh for their dedication to fighting 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, who made today's announcement. "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 Newburgh will provide increased economic opportunity for residents in the Mid-Hudson 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 seven programs approved for funding in Newburgh are:
The Newburgh Ministry, $500,000 - This funding will support the Fragile Economies Project, an intensive peer-to-peer family mentorship program that creates opportunities for economic and health improvement for families impacted by poverty. Families and their mentors will collaboratively develop an individualized action plan to eliminate the obstacles a family may be facing and increase their overall financial well-being. Families are empowered to take charge of their financial health by tracking cash flow, building a savings cushion and building resiliency to increase income and remove financial barriers. Families will have the opportunity to report their progress continually through a data tool built specifically for this program.
Community-Led Mini-Grants, $70,000 - Mini-grants of $10,000-$14,000 each were awarded to cultivate and support grassroots leadership by residents in the community. All projects are being led by Newburgh residents with support from local community organizations. The programs being funded are:
- The Broadway River District Neighborhood Association - Funding will be used to develop a tool and equipment shed, install new trash cans and schedule regular neighborhood cleanups, to improve the cleanliness and quality of its neighborhoods, as well as attract new neighborhoods to the organization.
- EveryDay Newburgh - A free eight-week workshop for young adults living in poverty will train them in advocacy, photography, and citizen journalism. The project will also create art installations and events, open to the public, to draw attention to critical social issues in the community and create a wider dialogue about them.
- Hasbrouck Street Park - The park will be renovated through a community-led volunteer effort which will result in a positively-transformed pocket park, complete with new playground equipment and artist murals, to attract community members and their families.
- Increase Civic Engagement - Young adults living in poverty will be trained to conduct non-partisan voter registration, spread information and recruit others to increase civic participation, engage in discussions of community issues, and speak at public meetings.
- The Star Project - This initiative will allow people to pay a donation amount to local eateries in Newburgh which can then be claimed by people in need so that they can purchase a food item at the eatery.
- We Are Newburgh - Funding will expand the organizational capacity of the We Are Newburgh initiative, allowing them to offer additional events that benefit the community, such as back-to-school giveaways and community barbeques, to help underserved families procure school supplies and other items to meet basic needs.
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 Newburgh 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 Newburgh's local leadership and look forward to seeing the impact this effort will have on the lives of Newburgh families."
Jeannie Montano, President and CEO of United Way of Dutchess-Orange Region, which is the coordinating organization for the Newburgh Anti-Poverty Task Force, said, "ESPRI is a phenomenal opportunity for our community. It truly bridges the gap between community members and service providers. The programs that have resulted from community member input are impactful and will positively transform Newburgh for years to come."
Senator Bill Larkin said, "The funding for these vital programs through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative will help to improve the overall quality of life for all Newburgh residents. While this funding will support those residents who are most in need it will also have an untold impact on the greater Newburgh community. As we build up our City by supporting these programs we also strengthen our economic development and revitalization efforts. I want to thank Governor Cuomo, the City of Newburgh and the many local stakeholders and groups who joined us in this effort. Through cooperation and teamwork, we will continue to better our community."
Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus said, "Creating economic opportunities for Newburgh is important. We have already worked to expand job training initiatives in Newburgh. This initiative by Governor Cuomo can help families meet essential needs and grow the economy. I look forward to continuing to work with all our State and Federal leaders to create economic opportunity in Newburgh and across Orange County."
Newburgh Mayor Torrance Harvey said, "The funding from the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative will be instrumental in helping Newburgh families achieve social and economic mobility. I applaud Governor Cuomo for today's much needed funding and his support of community based strategies for fighting poverty."
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.