social services

Aiden / Flickr

In January, all of New York state will be involved with the 211 call service. The plan is to reduce the number of calls to 911, while helping those who need assistance get help.

Brenda Episcopo, executive director of the United Way of the Valley and Greater Utica Area, says the service is a mix of 911 and 411.

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."

Onondaga Citizens League

A new study finds that agencies in central New York do a good job of taking care of the 700-800 refugees who come to Syracuse every year. One community group is suggesting creating a one-stop shop for these newly-arrived residents.

Proposed state legislation would allow social services officials to withhold rent payments for low-income housing when the landlords haven’t paid their taxes.