Anti-poverty programs are up and running in Oswego thanks to nearly $400,000 in state funding through the Empire State Poverty Reduction Initiative. Last year, officials selected programs from local organizations to receive the funding.
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow said they wanted to create programs that would help get people out of poverty and be self-sustaining.
“Our programs are developed around workforce development situations where we can help people get the skills they need to get a job and keep a job,” Barlow said.
Barlow said one major project with Oswego County Opportunities, creates a centralized location downtown for various services.
“We can bring people identified to be under the poverty threshold and bring them in so they can develop the skills, get workforce training," Barlow said. "We help them with job searches. If they get a job, we follow-up and make sure they’re working to the standard of the employer.”
It also allows easy access to support in transportation, childcare and schools.
29 percent of the population in the city of Oswego lives below the poverty line. Other programs being funded for those in need include transitional housing, ride-sharing, substance abuse counseling as well as free books for elementary school students.
Watertown, Syracuse and Utica also created task forces to oversee and administer state poverty reduction funding. Gov. Andrew Cuomo's office said 16 cities are all beginning to implement anti-poverty programs funded through the $25 million initiative.