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2019 poverty initiatives allocation designates over $1.6 million in county antipoverty grants

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Fri, Dec 13th 2019 06:10 pm

Input from Erie County Poverty Scoring Committee guides recommendations, selects 16 agencies for funding

Sixteen local organizations have been designated to receive over $1.6 million in grant funding as part of the 2019 poverty initiatives allocation following recommendations from the Erie County Poverty Committee, which evaluated 61 proposals from qualified not-for-profit agencies seeking to provide transformational projects that empower those living in or at risk of falling into poverty.

In its deliberations, the committee sought proposals that addressed barriers to adequate housing in Erie County, explored the establishment of a revolving loan fund, and brought forward ideas on how agencies can improve services in the community.

The Erie County Department of Social Services will administer contracts with these organizations.

“Unemployment is down and Erie County’s economy is doing well, but poverty’s pervasive presence continues to drag on our community, impeding families and individuals from achieving their true potential. This funding is an investment in antipoverty programs that help women and children, as well as people seeking affordable housing, and it will help to build stronger families countywide,” said Erie County Executive Mark C. Poloncarz. “I thank the poverty committee and the Department of Social Services for their hard work in identifying these partner agencies, and also the legislature for approving this funding. These investments will improve people’s lives and bring better outcomes for them and for our community.”

Poverty Committee Chair the Rev. Kinzer Pointer added, “The poverty committee is grateful to the county executive and County Legislature for dedicating funds to address poverty in our community. The poverty committee oversees the allocation of antipoverty funds, and are proud to support these 16 projects receiving funding. Erie County will use these funds to innovate new antipoverty strategies, research vexing problems thoroughly, and institute best practices. The other members of the poverty committee and I are looking forward to examining the results of these efforts.”

The scoring committee recommended the following organizations to receive poverty initiative allocations:

•The Rural Outreach Center ($70,034) to establish a subsidized on-demand transportation program with a ride-sharing company for its’ clients;

 •Say Yes Buffalo ($39,000) to fund paid internship positions in the nonprofit and public sector, and to fund summer professional development workshops for Say Yes Buffalo interns;

•EPIC (Every Person Influences Children) representing the WNY Human Services Collaborative is recommended to receive $250,000 to renovate 26,000 square-feet of space into individual agency and shared spaces for approximately 10 partner agencies;

•Rental Assistance Corp. of Buffalo ($37,500) to develop a revolving security deposit program for Section 8 housing choice vouchers (“HCV”) to allow voucher holders to move into areas within Erie County with low poverty rates;

•Homespace Corp. ($102,753) to establish a “Mommy & Me” program to provide real-world, normative experiences for mothers between 14-21 years old;

•St. Adalbert’s Response to Love Center ($59,117) for asbestos encapsulation and floor replacement, along with IT services;

•Watermark Wesleyan Church/Springville Trading Post Community Care Center ($63,480) for facility upgrades to a food pantry and soup kitchen;

•WNY Women’s Foundation ($34,549.24) to promote childcare studies through professional advertisements in radio and social media;

•Compeer West ($96,693) to execute a pilot intervention matching older adults living in an adult residential facility and who have limited social interaction with trained, supported Compeer volunteers who will meet with the individual to establish and maintain friendships;

•The Karen Society of Buffalo ($49,940) to purchase a 12-15-passenger vehicle, hire a part-time program coordinator, and provide program operating funds;

•Neighborhood Legal Services ($145,048) to launch its “Justice Bus” initiative in Erie County;

•The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Northtowns ($84,500) to renovate its kitchen to allow for culinary arts instruction;

•Peace of the City ($72,558) for seed money for the creation of a workforce continuum director and employment mentor, and to support increases in responsibilities for the literacy supervisor and finance manager;

•The Center for Elder Law and Justice ($89,600) to train attorneys how to better work with adults with developmental disabilities to better serve this population;

•Cornell in Buffalo ($50,000) to provide recommendations for policy changes that can be made by county government that result in more residents living in adequate housing; and

•Home Headquarters ($400,000) to establish a revolving loan fund to help families make needed improvements to their homes that remove health and safety hazards, and allow older adults to age-in-place. This funding is in addition to assistance the county already provides to residents who live in the HUD consortium area that does not include Buffalo and other larger communities.

“Women, children, seniors and families will be impacted by these investments across many aspects of their lives. We are building a stronger, more resilient community, and will continue working to help residents overcome the challenges of poverty to lead healthy, productive lives,” Poloncarz added.

For more information on the Erie County Department of Social Services, visit http://www2.erie.gov/socialservices/.

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