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Closed anti-poverty meeting held in Rochester

Veronica Volk

Members of the New York state Assembly are on a statewide tour to hear from people living in poverty and local elected officials who are trying to address the issue. The first stop was Rochester, which was given money in this year's budget to establish an anti-poverty task force.

The round table discussion was closed to press, but a statement says the meeting was an opportunity for leaders to discuss the impacts of poverty on the community.

Assemblyman Marco Crespo came up from his district in the Bronx to join the discussion. He says although different communities across the state have unique issues, it's helpful to come together to brainstorm solutions.

"I would say there's a lot more in common than there are differences, but it's important to be at the table and share those thoughts to figure that out."

Assembly Majority Leader Joe Morelle says the meeting provides an opportunity for leaders to engage in a candid conversation about the impact of poverty, and how they are addressing the issue. He says assembly members from across the state were given a chance to see what Rochester's anti-poverty initiative is doing.

"They've heard a lot about it, and want to become aware of the steps that we're taking. So we're kind of hoping, if they see value in what we're doing, that it'll become a model for the rest of the state."

Over the last few months, the task force has encouraged input from community groups and residents about they causes and impact of cyclical poverty. They have held public meetings and circulated flyers, but so far they have yet to move past the crowdsourcing stage.

It's unclear how the information will be used to create policies and adjust social services for those who need them.

Assembly members are scheduled to hold an open meetings in Binghamton Tuesday, and one in New York City in September.