“Our goal is to work together to develop and execute an innovative plan to reduce the number/percentage of households residing in poverty and increase the number/percentage with earned income above poverty.”
The Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI) is an effort initiated by Governor Andrew Cuomo to positively impact communities within New York State (NYS) facing poverty issues. ESPRI programs are piloted throughout NYS with awards ranging from $500,000 to $2.5 million depending on the size of the population. The 16 Anti-Poverty Task Forces — Albany, the Bronx, Binghamton, Buffalo, Elmira, Hempstead, Jamestown, Newburgh, Niagara Falls, Oneonta, Oswego, Rochester, Syracuse, Troy, Utica, and Waterton — were determined through US Census figures as having high rates of poverty in New York State.
The City of Newburgh received $1 million in grant funding for Newburgh ESPRI with the goal of reducing poverty and increasing economic opportunity in the city. United Way of the Dutchess-Orange Region is the coordinating agency and is working together with The Newburgh Ministry on The Fragile Economies Project.
Staff of The Newburgh Ministry are selecting 50 families and with the goal to help them end their cycle of poverty. They will adderss individual needs through peer coaching and mentoring. The Newburgh Ministry is working in collaboration with Cornerstone Family Healthcare, Independent Living Inc, Marist School of Management, Mount Saint Mary College and The Newburgh Armory Unity Center on The Fragile Economies Project.
In addition there are six mini-grants funded by the Newburgh ESPRI grant, including The Newburgh Photo Project, The Civic Engagement Table, We Are Newburgh, The Star Project, The Broadway River District Neighborhood Association Project, and the Hasbrouck Street Park Project. All except The Star Project and the Broadway River District are complete.
- Newburgh ESPRI helped support We Are Newburgh’s annual Back-to-School Barbeque Event held at the end of the summer before school started. Many local nonprofit organizations attended this event and were able to explain there offered services to the barbeque attendees. Children received back-to-school supplies.
- Thanks to Newburgh ESPRI funds and the work of many volunteers, Hasbrouck Street Park was renovated, as well as parts of a couple surrounding parks. There is hope that over time and with more fundraising additional Newburgh parks will be renovated.
- Over the summer 10 young adults from the City of Newburgh were accepted into a photography program, Every Day Newburgh, led by the Newburgh Community Photo Project and supported by Newburgh ESPRI. There they learned how to tell stories through photography as well as learn from, and talk to professional photographers. There was a competitive interview process to enter the program. You can view their work on the Newburgh Community Photo Project Facebook page: www.facebook.com/newburghcommunityphotoproject.
- The Civic Engagement program focused on voter registration in the City of Newburgh. The goal of this project was to get people in the city registered to vote. The members of the Civic Engagement Table had a goal to reach and registar 500 new voters. The team consisted of high school students and community members reached potential new voters by tabling at events, community meetings and by simply walking down the streets of the city. Through their effort and dedication they were able to register over 1,000 new voters.
- The Broadway River District Neighborhood Association Project (BRDNA) is using the ESPRI funding to improve the appearance and cleanliness of the neighborhoods of South Miller, and East Parmenter Streets. BRDNA is setting up a neighborhood shed that will be equipped with communal tools to be used by the residents of the two streets. This project is still underway with planned completion in the spring.
- The Star Project tackles food insecurity in the city. Local restaurants participate in The Star Project by allowing a small cork board in their establishments with restuarant patrons donating money toward a star or stars, representing a meal or beverage, to be put on the board. These stars can now be used by people who may not have enough money to afford a meal at no cost to the restaurant.
To learn more about The Fragile Economies Project and or the mini-grants, you can attend an Newburgh ESPRI taskforce meeting held every 4th Monday at 10am at the Newburgh Activity Center: 401 Washington Street.
- Why Newburgh
- Why United Way Dutchess-Orange Region
- What Makes ESPRI Different From Other Government Funding Programs
- The Newburgh ESPRI Task Force
- The Steering Commitee