First report out from anti-poverty group


The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has released an anxiously awaited progress report (below) — the first step toward its goal of reducing poverty in the Rochester-Monroe County region by 50 percent over the next 15 years.

The report will be the foundation for the group’s future work and investment.

Leading up to the report, 150 local people served on six working groups, each tackling a different area, including health and nutrition; housing; and jobs and workforce development.

Feedback was also sought from people living in poverty or who have emerged from poverty and are receiving some form of assistance to see what works well and what doesn’t.

The initiative is led by State Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, and Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks, and convened by the United Way.

The group is initially focusing on the estimated 32,600 working poor in Monroe County. The work groups identified the barriers that keep people in poverty and developed 33 recommendations to break down those barriers.

The identified barriers are:

• Lack of social and infrastructure development in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty;
• inequality caused by structural and institutional racism, or from racial, ethnic, social, or gender bias;
• impact of poverty-induced trauma;
• lack of knowledge, skills, and credentials to get or maintain a job;
• limited access to or eligibility for public and private supports, services, and programs;
• insufficient community capacity for child care and transportation;
• public and private policies, regulations, and practices.

The work groups’ recommendations were synthesized to create three initial areas to target: systems design; adult mentoring-navigating; and early childhood support.

The first has to do with developing a comprehensive system of social supports. The second involves having a mentor help people navigate support systems and to overcome barriers. The third calls for ensuring high-quality, affordable, accessible, and flexible child care. It also includes in-home parent training.

Reducing poverty in Rochester-Monroe County will require a long-term, comprehensive, integrated effort, the report says.