poverty

Ellen Abbott / WRVO News

This budget season in Albany has further eroded the relationship between teachers and Gov. Andrew Cuomo. 

When Cuomo linked school reform to school spending in this year’s budget process, it ratcheted up the rancor from teachers, school districts and some parents across the state.   

WRVO

Syracuse Mayor Stephanie Miner and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio have joined forced to try to get more funding for urban school districts.

Miner says the leaders of the two cities believe the state has a moral and legal responsibility, to come through with just over $5.8 billion for municipalities across the state which they say is mandated from the Campaign for Fiscal Equity lawsuits several years ago.

Paul Downey / Flickr

In this year's State of the State address, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the formation of an anti-poverty task force in Rochester, which has the highest child poverty rate in the state. The initiative just got started, and its efforts are being closely watched by other areas in the state like Syracuse that also have high poverty rates.

Fred Daniel serves food in the dining center of Asbury Methodist Church. He says being a member of that community helps him deal with being homeless.

This week on the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher continues his series on poverty in the Syracuse region, with a discussion of criminal legal representation for the poor.  Grant is joined by two attorneys who provide indigent legal representation, Sheldon Gould and Francis Walter.  Together they sketch out how the system of indigent representation works, its challenges, ways to improve it, and how their experiences have changed their own views toward the poor.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

The mayor of Syracuse says her city’s high poverty rate is always on her mind, even if she didn’t mention it in her 2015 agenda.

A third of Syracuse residents live in poverty and half of Syracuse’s children are poor. That has ripple effects like a high school graduation rates that hovers around only 50 percent.

One hundred forty central New Yorkers learned first hand what it's like to live in the grip of poverty this week. Visions for Change shined a light on the issue through it's poverty simulation.

Ashlee Hines works at the homeless shelter at the Salvation Army in Syracuse. You’d think she’d be aware of some of the issues people living in poverty face, but playing the role of a mom, going to school, working, and taking care of children was an eye opener.

"What I had to do was really hard. I kind of panicked,” Hines said. “And I know how to do day-to-day stuff.”

CNY Fair Housing

A recent report finds Syracuse and Onondaga County suffer from “hyper-segregation,” where minorities are mostly confined to a few, low-income neighborhoods.

A practice of only placing affordable housing in low-income neighborhoods, combined with the fact that few landlords outside those blocks are willing to accept housing vouchers, has resulted in Syracuse being one of the most segregated cities in the country, according to a report by CNY Fair Housing.

"As long as we keep having this pattern reoccurring for decades and generations, we’re not going to see, really address the difficult issue of the fact that we have one of poorest communities in the country and one of the highest rates of child poverty in the country," said Sally Santangelo, executive director of CNY Fair Housing.

Poverty has long been understood to be a root cause of crime.  What's less well understood is how crime--and the criminal justice system--contribute to poverty.  In this edition of the Campbell Conversations, host Grant Reeher explores that dynamic with Marsha Weissman, the executive director of the Center for Community Alternatives, an organization dedicated to finding alternatives to incarceration and supporting people in the criminal justice system.

Ryan Delane / WRVO file photo

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is courting senior voters as Election Day approaches. He stood with some local seniors in Syracuse, promising to protect Social Security. He admits there are some changes that could be made to the federal program.

“But it’s not in crisis," Maffei said. "It’s a program that continues to make sure that seniors can continue to live a dignified life, even if their private savings didn't work out, or something like that. And that’s the whole point of the program that Roosevelt put in.”

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

In the waning days of the election, Republican congressional candidate John Katko is focusing on poverty.

Katko, a former federal prosecutor in Syracuse, says he’s seen up close the poverty plaguing the 23rd poorest city in the country.

"I remember many times walking up a dark stairway, trying to find a witness with one of the agents, knocking on the door, not knowing what’s going to happen when the door happens," Katko said. "But when that door opens, you see unbelievable living conditions in the city of Syracuse. Where is the outrage? Where is the concern?”

Continuing its series on poverty in the Syracuse region, this week's edition of the Campbell Conversations focuses on an under-studied and under-appreciated aspect of the problem: adult literacy.  Peter Waite is the Executive Vice-President of ProLiteracy, and Marsha Tait is Executive Director of Literacy CNY.  Together they discuss how literacy and economic challenges interact.

Food stamp benefits to go down over the weekend

Sep 19, 2014
Ellen Abbott / WRVO

People who use food stamps to purchase groceries should get their shopping done early this weekend, as the system will be down Sunday morning to go through an upgrade.

The state is switching providers for its public assistance program, now known as SNAP benefits. To do so, benefit recipients debit like cards won’t work from midnight Saturday until noon Sunday.

So the state’s benefit provider office is encouraging people to do their shopping beforehand.

This episode of the Campbell Conversations continues with the theme of poverty in the Syracuse region.  Host Grant Reeher talks with Tom Buckel, a former county legislator and partner in a large Syracuse law firm who now works as an Attorney for Legal Services of Central New York, and Deborah O'Shea, the pro bono coordinator for the Volunteer Lawyers Project of Onondaga County.  They discuss poverty and the access to civil legal services.

Grant Reeher (GR): Can you give me a brief overview of the mission of your organization and the kind of work that it does?

Syracuse is one of the poorest cities in the nation.  The poorest of those poor, both individuals and families, struggle with homelessness.  As a first installment in an ongoing series on poverty in the Syracuse region, Grant Reeher talks with Kevin Frank, the Executive Director of the Brady Faith Center, located on Syracuse’s South Side.  Frank discusses his on-the-ground and in-the-street work with the homeless, and suggests what government, non-profit organizations, and all of us, can do to promote genuine relationships, which he sees as the key in addressing the problem.

Jenna Flanagan/Innovation Trail

A campaign by the New York State Community Action Association to change perceptions of poverty was launched last week in Albany. The "From Poverty to Opportunity Tour 2014" is running in conjunction with a series of speaking events around the state that will feature people sharing personal stories of their experience of poverty.

Karla Digirolamo, CEO of the New York State Community Action Association put together the anti-poverty tour to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Economic Opportunity Act or as it's more commonly known, President Lyndon B. Johnson's War on Poverty.

Ellen Abbott / WRVO

A small conference room at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Syracuse was recently transformed into a world of poverty. A simulation run by the Syracuse anti-poverty group Visions for Change gave 100 people a chance to see what it is like to walk in the shoes of the poor helping those participating learn a valuable lesson.

A pretend corner market was a busy spot in the simulation, but it wasn’t the pretend food or prescriptions drawing the most interest. It was the bus passes.

"Do you want a weekly bus pass?" a woman asks. "Yes, please."

Jenna Flanagan / Innovation Trail

New York state continues to have a higher percentage of children living in poverty than any other state. Experts in the field gathered in Albany recently to brainstorm ways to deal with the issue at a forum titled "Growing Up in Poverty" organized by the Schuyler Center for Analysis and Advocacy.

Children growing up in poverty are denied equal access to education according to author and keynote speaker at the Growing Up in Poverty event, Jonathan Kozol.

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

In an essay in Forbes Magazine, entrepreneurship expert and Syracuse native Carl Schramm knocks his hometown for forgetting its innovative roots and potentially dooming its future.

At the end of this week, the biggest Christmas giveaway in central New York takes place and the high numbers of families who signed up for the annual Christmas Bureau shows an economy that's still hurting.

The Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate was in Syracuse this week and called poverty an issue that's being ignored this political season.