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Governor Cuomo Announces Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force Holds First Meeting

Members of Governor’s cabinet briefed by local leaders on conditions in Rochester and work going forward

March 5, 2015 - Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the first meeting of the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force, which began discussions on how to advance plans to combat poverty and fight inequality in the Rochester area. As part of the Governor's Opportunity Agenda, the task force consists of more than twenty cabinet members and other individuals and is partnering with the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, led by Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle, Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren, Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks.

“By partnering with local leaders, we are taking an important step to fight poverty and create more opportunities for people to succeed in Rochester,” Governor Cuomo said. “This Anti-Poverty Task Force is bringing a wide variety of agencies and groups together to combat inequality in the community, and I am proud to see the initiative get underway.”

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul said, “This initiative underscores Governor Cuomo’s resolve and commitment to addressing poverty and restoring economic opportunity to vulnerable populations in Rochester. Combined with the Governor’s 10-point statewide anti-poverty plan, we will work to support the hardworking families in this city and fight inequality.”

Today, Lieutenant Governor Hochul and the Governor’s cabinet members were briefed by community leaders on conditions in the city and the group’s work to date. The State Task Force Members were introduced and given an update on the Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative, as well as in-depth panels on education and training, jobs, housing, health and nutrition, and safe neighborhoods. The forum concluded with a discussion on the task force’s next steps toward a coordinated solution to assist Rochester’s underserved population, which will include the formation of workgroups to engage more members of the local community and hear directly from residents working to escape poverty.

The current system in Rochester is broken, and the initiative outlined its plan to work toward a different system to enable families to move out of poverty. This system includes:

  • child- and family-centered services integrated throughout the community
  • flexible funding streams
  • multiple access points to integrate services
  • accountability measures
  • flexible, data-driven, accessible information across the delivery system
  • needs met and opportunities created
  • intensive case management and mentoring

The Governor’s task force will work in partnership with the local community to help implement their plan and achieve their goals.

The vision of the local anti-poverty initiative—to “eliminate poverty by ensuring that every child lives in a stable family environment where the promise of economic mobility is a reality”—was revealed today, as well as its goals. These goals are to achieve better outcomes, create a better experience and reduce costs and increase efficiencies. It seeks to enable families to move out of poverty through five key drivers: jobs, education/skills training, housing, safe neighborhoods and health and nutrition.

To facilitate public engagement with the local initiative and the Governor’s task force, the United Way of Greater Rochester also launched a new website——that provides a complete list of organizations that have joined this initiative, and the ability to sign up for a work group and get more information on the Anti-Poverty Initiative.

Assembly Majority Leader Joseph D. Morelle said, “The Rochester-Monroe Anti-Poverty Initiative has been working tirelessly over the past six months to develop a framework and set a course forward that embraces a new comprehensive approach to eradicating poverty in Rochester. In partnership with Governor Cuomo and through communitywide collaboration we can begin to build a new system that ensures that those most in need have the opportunity to achieve the American dream and live in a stable environment where the promise of economic mobility is a reality.”

City of Rochester Mayor Lovely A. Warren said, “The work of the Rochester Anti-Poverty Task Force will help us provide our residents with more jobs, safe neighborhoods and better schools. Once again, Governor Cuomo has demonstrated that he is determined to join us in our work to get our citizens back to work and provide our children with access to better opportunities.”

Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks said, “I am proud to be joining my partners in government to tackle this critical issue facing our community. Monroe County is among the most innovative and philanthropic communities and through our public and private partnerships we can help uplift all 38,000 children and their families out of poverty.”

State Task Force Members

  • Fran Barrett – Interagency Coordinator for Non-Profits, Task Force Chair
  • Richard Ball – Department of Agriculture and Markets, Acting Commissioner
  • Deborah Benson – Council of Children and Families, Executive Director
  • Karim Camara – Faith-Based Community Service Unit, Executive Director
  • Linda Cohen – Commission on National and Community Service, Executive Director
  • Corinda Crossdale – Office for the Aging, Director
  • Kerry Delaney – Office of People with Developmental Disabilities, Acting Commissioner
  • Sharon Devine – Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance, Executive Deputy Commissioner
  • Arlene Gonzales-Sanchez – Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services, Commissioner
  • Eric Hesse – Division of Veterans Affairs, Director
  • Mario Musolino – Department of Labor, Acting Commissioner
  • Cesar Perales – Department of State, Secretary of State
  • Lisa Robb – NYS Council on the Arts, Executive Director
  • Ann Marie Sullivan, MD – Office of Mental Health, Commissioner
  • Lisa Timoney – Division of Budget Nonprofit Unit, Director
  • Darryl Towns – Homes and Community Renewal, Commissioner
  • Roberto Velez – Office of Children and Family Services, Acting Commissioner
  • Gwen Wright – Office for the Prevention of Domestic Violence, Executive Director
  • Nora Yates – Community Opportunity Reinvestment, Deputy Director
  • Howard Zemsky – Empire State Development, Acting President & CEO
  • Howard Zucker, M.D. – Department of Health, Acting Commissioner
  • Joel Seligman – Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Co-Chair
  • Danny Wegman – Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council, Co-Chair

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