By Devin Martin
During the past several months, community groups from Syracuse have formed an anti-poverty initiative called Greater Syracuse HOPE, which stands for Healing, Opportunity, Prosperity and Empowerment, in order to combat poverty in the city of Syracuse.
HOPE, which is an extension of the United Way of Central New York, is a coalition of agencies which already currently exist to help fight poverty in the region.
Recently, the group’s organizers, led by Syracuse Common Council member Helen Hudson, held four open community meetings, to bring the different, diverse residents, and partners of the Syracuse community together to create new pathways of opportunities for community members who are coming from economically-deprived situations, the group stated.
The coalition held the meetings in various locations throughout the community, in order to receive the public’s feedback regarding the process.
As a result, a shared concern arose among attendees during the meeting surrounding the fact that there seems to be a lack of jobs available in the city.
In addition, residents said, when there are jobs available, it’s the requirements that then become the challenge.
According to attendees, most city jobs are filled by people who live outside of Syracuse, in places like Liverpool or Camillus.
“It has to be the commitment of our community to say this is not acceptable,” Sharon Owens, co-chair of the coalition, and chief executive officer of Syracuse Model Neighborhood Facility Inc., which runs the Southwest Community Center, stated. “It is not acceptable for 60 percent of minority people in this community to live in concentrated poverty. It is not acceptable for certain neighborhoods, that everyone around you is at the poverty level. It is not acceptable for kids who come to the Southwest Community Center, and Dunbar, and the Northeast Community Center, and the Boys and Girls clubs to have members of their family not have a job.”
Owens said HOPE will focus on community engagement; health; education; housing; economic strategy; transportation and data; policy and marketing, going forward.
In addition, she said each section, or committee, of the coalition will work on improving the city’s poverty in each of the aforementioned areas.
Visit https://vimeo.com/179817283 to view video from the meeting, or click on the image below.