Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative

Payne Horning / WRVO News

Utica residents got to weigh in recently on how the city will go about its effort to improve the lives of lower-income residents.

People packed the gymnasium at the Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School during the poverty town hall meeting, casting their votes for five projects aimed at eliminating the barriers that prevent people from moving out of poverty.

The most popular project was a 24-hour child care center. Shamika Rather says she recently had to quit a job because of a lack of child care options.

Gino Geruntino / WRVO News File Photo

Oswego is offering up to $400,000 to individuals, business owners and or organizations that can help the city combat poverty. It's part of the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative (ESPRI), which aims to help 16 cities improve the lives of their lower-income residents.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

A third of the city of Utica lives below the poverty line, including 47 percent of its children. That is the starting point for the city's new poverty reduction initiative task force. At its first public forum last week, those involved with the project revealed that the problem is even worse for African American children, 72 percent of whom are affected.