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More Than $1.3 Million Provided to Undertake Community-Based Projects

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced more than $1.3 million in State funding for programs aimed at helping low-income families in the South Bronx break cycles of poverty. The programs funded through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative include a digital navigator system to connect low-income families with community programs, a network to help jobseekers connect with employment opportunities, and a pair of programs designed to address the challenges faced by the most impoverished residents of the South Bronx.

“While the State economy has grown stronger, jobs are at an all-time high and unemployment is at the lowest levels in a generation, there are still communities that need our help,” Governor Cuomo said. “Our support for these projects in the Bronx will enable the community and local organizations to develop a pathway to guide low-income New Yorkers toward economic independence. We’re very proud of this initiative, which is making strategic investments to combat poverty in some of the hardest hit areas of the state and delivering real results to people who need it most.”

“The Bronx is the fastest-growing borough in New York City, but we are still not seeing prosperity shared across the entire borough,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul. “Through smart economic development initiatives like the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, we are working to lift all New Yorkers out of poverty and make sure no neighborhood is left behind. This funding will go toward community-oriented projects and programs that will support struggling families in the Bronx, along with workforce development programs that will connect Bronx residents with good job opportunities.”

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, Troy, Syracuse, Utica and Watertown joined Rochester by developing task forces to oversee local efforts and administer state funding.

These task forces initially worked to identify high-need areas and develop recommendations for investments and other initiatives to reduce the number of individuals living in poverty. The task forces are now implementing the poverty reduction plans developed in the first phase to utilize the funding.

The Children’s Aid was chosen to administer the funding in the Bronx. The city-based nonprofit is contracting with other local organizations to help implement four community-based projects.

Phipps Neighborhoods, Children’s Aid and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice will each receive approximately $325,000 to start the Bronx Impact Alliance. This coordinated approach among residents, community-based organizations, higher education institutions, businesses, philanthropies, government agencies, and others will address the challenges faced by the most impoverished individuals in three distinct areas of the South Bronx.

These providers will gather community stakeholders – including individuals living in poverty – to develop localized solutions to local challenges and to give residents a voice in guiding change in their respective neighborhoods. Children’s Aid will coordinate with Phipps Neighborhoods to focus on Bronx Community District 3, which is one of the most impoverished neighborhoods in New York City. Phipps Neighborhoods will also coordinate these efforts in Bronx Community District 6, while Youth Ministries will focus on Bronx Community District 9.

JobsFirstNYC will use $300,104 to create Bronx Impact Careers, an employment network that includes agencies with extensive experience in workforce development, education, and community engagement to better serve both jobseekers and potential employers. This initiative will ultimately prepare local residents for an anticipated increase in job opportunities resulting from economic development efforts in the Bronx.

Aunt Bertha will use $36,674 to establish My Bronx Impact, an online search and referral platform. This project will help families and individuals living in poverty build connections to the many programs, supports, services, and opportunities available to them via community nonprofit organizations.

New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Mike Hein said, “Identifying and understanding the root causes of poverty are the first critical steps to take toward finding a lasting solution. Each project funded through this initiative represents a locally driven approach to addressing the problems that affect the poorest neighborhoods in the Bronx, which collectively represent one of the most impoverished areas in the nation. Under the leadership of Governor Cuomo, we are helping communities to develop new, more effective models to root out poverty in areas of the state where it has become endemic.”

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.”

State 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 the Bronx 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 the Bronx’s local leadership and look forward to seeing the impact this effort will have on the lives of Bronx families.”

Children’s Aid President and CEO Phoebe Boyer said, “While some areas of the Bronx have shared in the overall economic prosperity of the metropolitan region, others continue to languish in a state of extreme poverty – a contrast that is both striking and deeply troubling. The projects supported by the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative are aimed at connecting the poorest neighborhoods with services they can use to embark on new opportunities, break cycles of poverty, and at last share in the success many New York City communities have experienced in recent years. We commend Governor Cuomo’s leadership and insight on this critical need, and we look forward to our continued work in the South Bronx community.”

These projects are a direct result of 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.

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, conducted listening sessions across the state in 2017 to discuss updates with the Governor’s program, answer questions, and connect local government with non-profit providers and business groups.

Senator Luis R. Sepúlveda said, “The Bronx knows all too well the devastating, long-lasting effects of chronic under-funding and neglect, impacting our schools, jobs, health, and so much more. I commend and welcome Governor Cuomo’s Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative in the Bronx, and trust Children’s Aid to manage these investments with care, wisdom, and deep knowledge of the needs and potential of our communities. While the needs remain great, investments like these are an important step in the process towards greater economic justice and opportunity for all.”

Assembly Member Marcos A. Crespo said, “For too long The Bronx has been directly associated with poverty and social plight. And while much has improved over the last decade, we must still lift more families out of poverty and into generational economic prosperity. These investments follow years of advocacy from Bronx officials and community-based organizations and invest key funding into locally generated ideas to achieve these goals. I applaud Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the legislature for making this possible and look forward to the work ahead ensuring that these new initiatives coupled with other key infrastructure investments will forever change our Boroughs image for the better.”

Assembly Member Michael Blake said, “The cycle of poverty in The Bronx will be broken through jobs, education, skills and economic investment thanks to the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative, South Bronx Rising Together, Children’s Aid, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. and fellow Bronxites. We thank Governor Cuomo and Lieutenant Governor Hochul for believing in The Bronx. Through ESPRI. and our dedicated focus of jobs, training, improving housing and health while reducing criminal injustice and unemployment, we are building a better Bronx and showing that your block won’t block your blessing and your zip code won’t deny your destiny.”

Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr. said, “Life in The Bronx has improved immeasurably in the last few years, but we are not perfect and there are still too many Bronxites living in poverty. These programs will have a lasting impact in strengthening our workforce and ensuring that our jobseekers are connected to opportunities to build a better life for themselves and the coming generations. So many others will also benefit from local groups and nonprofits working together to tackle the most pervasive issues in our borough and connect our families to critical resources which could improve their quality of life. Thank you to Governor Andrew Cuomo and New York State for your support of the South Bronx and your commitment to the most vulnerable in our community.”

Council Member Rafael Salamanca said, “Recognizing the need to provide people with the critical resources required to thrive personally and professionally, the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative connects individuals to services in career development and public support programs. I applaud the Cuomo Administration for selecting the South Bronx as one of the communities to receive this important funding. Bronxites of all ages will benefit greatly from this initiative, and I look forward to working with state and local partners to ensure the successful implementation of this program.”